country:hungary

  • UK sending Syrians back to countries where they were beaten and abused

    Refugees tell of being held in cages and even tortured in European countries including Hungary and Romania

    Britain is using EU rules to send asylum seekers from Syria and other countries back to eastern European states where they were beaten, incarcerated and abused, the Guardian has learned.

    Migrant rights groups and lawyers say the Home Office is using the rules to send people back to “police brutality, detention and beatings” in several European countries.

    The Guardian has spoken to refugees who were subjected to assaults as they travelled through Europe. The men tell of being held in “cages” in Hungary, waterboarded and handcuffed to beds by detention centre guards in Romania and beaten in Bulgaria.
    Britain is one of worst places in western Europe for asylum seekers
    Read more

    They now face being returned to those countries as, under the so-called Dublin law, asylum seekers are supposed to apply in their first EU country of entry.

    In 2015 more than 80,000 requests were made by EU countries for another government to take back an asylum seeker. The UK made 3,500 of these requests to countries around Europe, including Bulgaria, Romania, Italy and Hungary.

    The Home Office claims it should be entitled to assume that any EU country will treat asylum seekers properly.

    The charity Migrant Voice has collected testimony from several refugees who are fighting removal from the UK to other European countries. Nazek Ramadan, the director of the charity, said the men had been left traumatised by their journey and their subsequent treatment in the UK.

    “We know there are hundreds of Syrians in the UK who have fingerprints in other European countries,” said Ramadan. “Many no longer report to the Home Office because they are afraid of being detained and deported away from their family in the UK. Those who have been forcibly removed often end up destitute.

    “These are people who were abused in their home country, sometimes jailed by the regime there. Then they were imprisoned again in Europe. They feel that they are still living in a war zone, moving from one arrest and detention to another.”

    The law firm Duncan Lewis recently won a key case preventing forced removals back to Hungary because of the risk that people might be forced from there back to their country of origin.

    The firm is also challenging removals to Bulgaria because of what the UN refugee agency has described as “substandard” conditions there. A test case on whether Bulgaria is a safe country to send people back to is due to be heard by the court of appeal in November.

    The situation could get even more complex as an EU ban on sending asylum seekers back to Greece is due to be lifted on Wednesday after a six-year moratorium.

    Krisha Prathepan, of Duncan Lewis, said: “We intend to challenge any resumption of returns to Greece, as that country’s asylum system remains dysfunctional and the risk of refugees being returned from Greece to the very countries in which they faced persecution remains as high as ever.”

    The Home Office says it has no immediate plans to send refugees back to Greece, but is following European guidelines.

    “We have no current plans to resume Dublin returns to Greece,” a spokesperson said, citing among other reasons “the reception conditions in the country”.

    She added: “In April 2016, the high court ruled that transfer to Bulgaria under the Dublin regulation would not breach the European Convention on Human Rights. If there is evidence that Bulgaria is responsible for an asylum application, we will seek to transfer the application.”

    Mohammad Nadi Ismail, 32, Syrian

    Mohammad Nadi Ismail, a former Syrian navy captain, entered Europe via Bulgaria and Hungary, hoping to join his uncle and brother in Britain.

    In Bulgaria he was detained, beaten and humiliated. “They stripped us and made us stand in a row all naked. We had to bend over in a long line. Then they hit us on our private parts with truncheons.

    “They would wake us at night after they had been playing cards and drinking. Then they would come and hit us or kick us with their boots or truncheons.”

    One day he was released and took his chance to leave, walking for days to reach Hungary.

    But in Hungary he was locked up again. “They took us to a courtyard of a big building where there were five or six cages, about 8ft [2.4 metres] square. Most of the people were African. Some of them had been in there for four or five days. Luckily we Syrians were allowed out after one night and I headed for the UK.”

    In the UK Ismail met up with the family he hadn’t seen for three years and applied for asylum immediately.

    Then a letter came, saying his fingerprints had been found in Bulgaria and he would be returned. After a month in detention he now reports every two weeks, waiting and hoping that the UK will let him stay.

    “I will not go back to Bulgaria. I still have hope that I can stay here legally and rebuild my life with my family who have always supported me,” he said.

    ‘Dawoud’, 34, Iranian

    Dawoud (not his real name) was 28 when he fled Iran after his political activities had made him an enemy of the government. His brother and parents made it to the UK and were given refugee status.

    When he was told by border guards that he was in Romania he had no idea what that meant. “I had never even heard of this country,” he said. He was put in a camp where “water dripped through the electrics – we were electrocuted often. Children and families screamed. We lived in fear of the wild dogs who circled the camp, attacking and biting us. We were given no food; we had to go through bins in the town nearby for scraps.”

    He escaped once, to the Netherlands, but was sent back.

    “I experienced several beatings, on all parts of the body. There were people covered in blood and they were refused medical help. They even waterboarded me. I thought I would die.”

    Finally he managed to reach his mother, father and brother in the UK. For two years he has lived in hiding, too scared to apply for asylum for fear of being sent back to Romania. But a few months ago he finally reported to the Home Office. A letter informed him that a request had been made to Romania to take him back.

    Dawoud shakes as he talks about his fear of removal, saying: “When I hear people speak Romanian in the street it brings back my trauma. I once fell to the ground shaking just hearing someone speak. I will kill myself rather than go back.”

    Wael al-Awadi, 36, Syrian

    Wael travelled by sea to Italy and was detained on arrival in Sicily. “They hit us with their fists and sticks in order to make us give our fingerprints. Then they let us go. They gave us nothing, no accommodation, just told us: ‘Go where you like.’ So many Syrians were sleeping in the streets.”

    When he reached the UK he was detained for two months before friends helped him get bail. A year and a half later, when reporting at the Home Office, he was detained again and booked on to a plane to Italy.

    He refused to go and a solicitor got him out on bail. His appeal is due to be heard later this year. “I left Syria to avoid jail and detention and here I have been locked up twice,” he said. “I can’t understand it. Why can’t they look at me with some humanity? I am mentally so tired. My children call me from Syria but I can’t speak to them any more. It is too painful.”

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/mar/12/the-refugees-uk-wants-to-send-back-to-countries-where-they-were-abused?
    #réfugiés_syriens #UK #Angleterre #Dublin #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Bulgarie #Roumanie #Hongrie #Italie #renvois #expulsions #renvois_Dublin


  • The New Authoritarians Are Waging War on Women

    Donald Trump’s ideological cousins around the world want to reverse the feminist gains of recent decades.
    Peter Beinart
    January/February 2019 Issue

    https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2019/01/authoritarian-sexism-trump-duterte/576382

    The problem with both American-born story lines is that authoritarian nationalism is rising in a diverse set of countries. Some are mired in recession; others are booming. Some are consumed by fears of immigration; others are not. But besides their hostility to liberal democracy, the right-wing autocrats taking power across the world share one big thing, which often goes unrecognized in the U.S.: They all want to subordinate women.

    To understand global Trumpism, argues Valerie M. Hudson, a political scientist at Texas A&M, it’s vital to remember that for most of human history, leaders and their male subjects forged a social contract: “Men agreed to be ruled by other men in return for all men ruling over women.” This political hierarchy appeared natural—as natural as adults ruling children—because it mirrored the hierarchy of the home. Thus, for millennia, men, and many women, have associated male dominance with political legitimacy. Women’s empowerment ruptures this order. “Youths oppress My people, and women rule over them,” laments Isaiah in the Hebrew Bible. “My people, your leaders mislead you.”

    Because male dominance is deeply linked to political legitimacy, many revolutionaries and counterrevolutionaries have used the specter of women’s power to discredit the regime they sought to overthrow. Then, once in power themselves, they have validated their authority by reducing women’s rights.

    Commentators sometimes describe Trump’s alliance with the Christian right as incongruous given his libertine history. But whatever their differences when it comes to the proper behavior of men, Trump and his evangelical backers are united by a common desire to constrain the behavior of women. That alliance was consecrated during Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings, when Republicans raged against Judiciary Committee Democrats for supposedly degrading the Senate by orchestrating a public hearing for Christine Blasey Ford, who had accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault.

    Like Trump, Bolsonaro linked this counterrevolution to a counterrevolution against uppity women. When, as a legislator, he voted to impeach Brazil’s first female president, Dilma Rousseff—who had been tortured by Brazil’s military rulers in the early 1970s—he dedicated the vote to one of that regime’s most infamous torturers. In 2015, he told a Brazilian congresswoman, “I would not rape you, because you are not worthy of it.” Crowds at Bolsonaro rallies chanted that they would feed dog food to feminists. And, like Trump, Bolsonaro has intense support from his country’s growing population of evangelicals, who appreciate his fervent opposition to abortion and gay rights.

    In the Philippines, Duterte didn’t have an economic or corruption crisis to help him delegitimize the political order. (...) Also like Bolsonaro, Duterte has threatened violence against women. In 2017, he informed Filipino soldiers that because he had declared martial law on the island of Mindanao, they could each rape up to three women with impunity. In 2018, he told soldiers to shoot female rebels “in the vagina,” because that would render them “useless.”

    Duterte’s anti-feminist crusade—like Trump’s and Bolsonaro’s—has also featured the ritualized humiliation of powerful women. When Senator Leila de Lima demanded an investigation into Duterte’s drug war, he vowed to “make her cry.” The government then detained de Lima on drug-trafficking charges and leaked evidence supposedly proving, in Duterte’s words, that she was “screwing her driver” like she was “screwing the nation.” A congressman who would later become Duterte’s spokesman joked that de Lima wanted to be detained at an army base “because there are many men there.” Not even Duterte’s female vice president, Leni Robredo—a member of a rival political party—has escaped his taunts. At a public event in 2016, he noted gleefully that the skirts she wore to cabinet meetings were “shorter than usual.”

    One can see parallels in Italy, whose deputy prime minister, Matteo Salvini, a Steve Bannon ally noted for his authoritarian tendencies, in 2016 compared the female president of the lower house of parliament to an inflated sex doll. The Italian government is promoting a law that critics say would eliminate child support, and a government spokesperson said forthcoming legislation would prosecute women who accuse their husbands of domestic violence if the husbands are not convicted.

    Not all of the new authoritarians are this flamboyant. But they all link the new political order they seek to create to a more subordinate and traditional role for women. Orbán, who has accused his predecessors of permitting immigrants and Roma to undermine Hungary’s identity, has proposed “a comprehensive agreement with Hungarian women” to bear more children. He promotes debt-free education for women, but only if they have at least three children.

    For its part, Poland’s autocratic government has run ads urging Poles to “breed like rabbits” and banned over-the-counter access to the morning-after pill. In late 2017, after Polish women protested draconian new restrictions on abortion, the government raided the offices of women’s groups.

    #guerre_aux_femmes #patriarcat #autoritarisme #extrême_droite
    #USA #Philippines #Brésil #Pologne #Italie #Hongrie
    Et appels au #viol comme punition envers les femmes, @mad_meg.


  • Yad Vashem teaches the Holocaust like totalitarian countries teach history

    Yad Vashem is now paying the price of the many years in which it nurtured a one-dimensional, simplistic message that there’s only one way to explain the Holocaust

    Daniel Blatman SendSend me email alerts
    Dec 18, 2018
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-what-happened-to-yad-vashem-1.6759139

    The Warsaw Ghetto Museum, which the Polish government decided to establish eight months ago, is now at the center of a debate.
    This debate has political elements, but it’s mainly a clash between two views of what should be stressed when researching and remembering the Holocaust, and above all of what educational messages should be sent – what Israelis like to call “the lessons of the Holocaust.”
    Haaretz’s Ofer Aderet, in his article about the Warsaw museum, mainly discussed the political perspective, giving considerable space to the criticisms by Prof. Hava Dreifuss, a Yad Vashem historian. Dreifuss assailed the Warsaw museum and those who decided, despite all the problems, to take on a project whose importance is hard to overstate. This criticism deserves a response.

    First, the political context. There’s no more appropriate response to Dreifuss’ criticism than the old saying that people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.
    >> Budapest Holocaust museum: Orban’s grand gesture or a whitewashing of Hungarian history?
    Dreifuss works for an institution that in recent years has functioned as a hard-working laundromat, striving to bleach out the sins of every anti-Semitic, fascist, racist or simply murderously thuggish leader or politician like Hungary’s Viktor Orban, the Philippines’ Rodrigo Duterte and Italy’s Matteo Salvini.
    My heart breaks when I see my colleagues, honest and faithful researchers of the Holocaust, giving tours of this historic museum, apparently under compulsion, to the evildoers the Israeli government sends to Yad Vashem to receive absolution in the name of Holocaust victims in exchange for adding a pro-Israel vote at international institutions. For some reason, Dreifuss has no criticism about this.
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    But for the Polish government (every Polish government, both the current one headed by the nationalist Law and Justice party and the previous one headed by a liberal centrist coalition), which is spending tens of millions of zlotys every year to preserve historical Jewish sites, Jewish graveyards and countless memorials, she has scathing criticism.
    Fear and demoralization
    A week and a half ago, Matti Friedman published an opinion piece in The New York Times about what’s happening at Yad Vashem, and it made for difficult reading. When you read his conclusions, your hair stands on end. He doesn’t quote a single Yad Vashem employee by name, because no one wanted to be identified. After all, they have to earn a living.
    Friedman described a mood of frustration, fear and demoralization among the employees because the current extremist, nationalist government has turned Yad Vashem into a political tool reminiscent of history museums in totalitarian countries.
    But the most astonishing thing Friedman reported is that the institution’s chairman, Avner Shalev – who turned the museum into an international remembrance empire, and who for years has viciously fought every attempt to present a different conceptual or research approach than that of Yad Vashem – is reluctant to retire, despite having reached the age of 80.
    >> How a Nazi sympathizer helped found one of Sweden’s most powerful parties
    The reason for his reluctance is that many people at the institute fear that when he leaves, his place will be taken by someone nominated by the relevant minister, Education Minister Naftali Bennett, who will turn Yad Vashem into a remembrance institute in the spirit of Bennett’s Habayit Hayehudi party. It would be interesting to know what Dreifuss thinks about that.
    Yad Vashem is now paying the price of the many years in which it nurtured a one-dimensional, simplistic message that there’s only one way to explain the Holocaust. Today, the institution is apparently willing to place its reputation for Holocaust research, which it has built over many years, at the service of a government that has recruited it to accuse anyone who criticizes Israel of anti-Semitism. So it’s no wonder that its researchers have become partisan explainers of the Holocaust.
    It’s one thing when, at dubious conferences with political leaders whose governments include former neo-Nazis, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tries to pass resolutions calling criticism of Israel the new anti-Semitism. It’s another when a research and remembrance institute doesn’t stand courageously against all such attempts.
    Thus Yad Vashem would do better not to look for evidence that other governments are attempting to distort history and dictate nationalist content – not to mention engaging in Holocaust denial, as Dreifuss charges.
    The Polish angle
    Does any of the above justify the current Polish government’s position on the Holocaust? Obviously not. The Polish government has a problematic agenda in explaining the past, which we aren’t obligated to accept and in fact should even criticize.
    But Poland’s government hasn’t interfered with the work of the museum’s employees, who have now started working, and certainly not with the development of the museum’s narrative. Had Dreifuss and her colleagues gotten involved in this effort, as they were invited to do, they would have been welcomed. Had Yad Vashem offered its help and support instead of giving the project the cold shoulder, nobody would have been happier than we at the museum.
    >> Opening Italy’s ‘closet of shame’
    And now we come to the historical issue. To take part in the effort to establish the Warsaw Ghetto Museum, one has to agree that the Holocaust can be presented and explained from perspectives other than an ethnocentric Jewish, Zionist and nationalist one.
    One has to accept that the Holocaust can be studied in a way that sees Jewish history during this period as an integral part of Poland’s history under the Nazi occupation. One has to agree that the horrific Jewish tragedy that occurred during World War II can and should be understood in part by simultaneously examining – while noting both the differences and the common elements – what befell Poles, Roma, Soviet prisoners of war and others who were murdered alongside Jews in the vast genocidal expanse that occupied Poland became.
    To set up a museum with a humanist, universal and inclusive message about the Holocaust, one has to accept an approach that sees the Warsaw Ghetto – a horrific terror zone that caused the deaths and physical and spiritual collapse of hundreds of thousands of Jews – as one element of a much bigger terror zone in which hundreds of thousands of other people suffered and fought for their existence: the Poles who lived on the other side of the wall.
    The obvious differences between the fates of these two peoples don’t absolve the research historian, or a museum depicting the history of this period, from presenting this complex message and demanding that visitors to the museum grapple with its lessons.
    Therefore, the new Warsaw Ghetto Museum won’t be Yad Vashem. It will be a Holocaust museum in the heart of the Polish capital that remembers the fate of the 450,000 Jews, Warsaw residents and refugees brought to the ghetto.
    After all, the vast majority of them were Jewish citizens of Poland. That’s how they lived, that’s how they suffered, and that’s how they should be remembered after being murdered by the Nazis.
    Prof. Daniel Blatman is a historian at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the chief historian for the Warsaw Ghetto Museum.


  • Israel’s president to CNN: Fighting anti-Semitism alongside neo-fascists is ’absolutely impossible’

    Reuven Rivlin’s remarks come after PM Netanyahu praised Austria, Hungary for combating the issue

    Noa Landau SendSend me email alerts
    Nov 29, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-rivlin-fighting-anti-semitism-alongside-neo-fascists-is-absolutely

    President Reuven Rivlin responded on Thursday to a poll published by CNN earlier in the week that revealed the depth of anti-Semitism in Europe.
    Rivlin told CNN that anti-Semitism is ‘an evil that can be found anywhere – left and right, nationalist and religious’ and argued that combatting the phenomenon by forming coalitions with neo-fascist movements is impossible.
    >> The man challenging the narrative that Netanyahu is Israel’s one and only savior | Analysis ■ Germany’s Nazi-friendly, anti-Semitic far right has a new mission: Recruiting Jews | Opinion

    Rivlin’s comments come after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised the right-wing leaders of Austria and Hungary for fighting anti-Semitism, a problem which Netanyahu said is fueled today by the ‘extreme left and radical Islamic pockets.’
    “I saw [Prime Minister] Viktor Orban in Hungary,” Netanyahu told CNN on Tuesday in response to the poll. ‘He’s opened up a center against anti-Semitism. I saw [Chancellor] Sebastian Kurz in Austria, he just held a conference against anti-Semitism, and that’s encouraging.’  
    In the interview Thursday, Rivlin told CNN that neo-fascism is ‘absolutely incompatible’ with Israel’s principles and values. “You cannot say ‘we admire Israel and want relations with your country, but we are neo-fascists,’" Rivlin said.
    “I meet leaders from all around the world – presidents and prime ministers – and they tell me that sometimes they need to work with movements like these to build coalitions and that although they are neo-fascists they are great admirers of Israel. I tell them that this is absolutely impossible,” Rivlin said.
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    According to the president, rejecting neo-fascists movements is a way of fighting anti-Semitism. ‘The fact that the President of Israel says to neo-fascist movements ‘you are persona non grata in the State of Israel’ is a statement that fights anti-Semitism in a concrete way. It is a statement that makes clear that memory is important and that we will not compromise on for the political expediency of the state of Israel,’ Rivlin said.
    CNN’s poll, conducted in seven European countries, found that a quarter of Europeans believe Jews have too much influence in business and finance. Additionally, more than one-third of respondents said they have no substantial knowledge of the Holocaust. One-third of respondents also said that Jews use the Holocaust to advance their own positions or goals
    According to Rivlin, the problem can be fought by ‘strengthening memory’ and sticking ‘to the historical facts, not politicians’ talking points.’ Rivlin added that Israel must collaborate with other nations ‘to fight against xenophobia and discrimination, of which anti-Semitism is a variant.’


  • The Kaiser goes : the generals remain - Theodor Plivier
    https://libcom.org/history/kaiser-goes-generals-remain-theodor-plivier-1932

    Text entier en anglais : https://libcom.org/files/TheKaiserGoesTheGeneralsRemain.pdf https://libcom.org/files/TheKaiserGoesTheGeneralsRemain.mobi

    Du même auteur : Stalingrad (1945), Moskau (1952), Berlin (1954), une trilogie sur la guerre contre les nazis. Je n’ai pas encore trouvé de version en ligne.

    This is an amazing novel about the German Revolution, written by a participant. Republished here in PDF and Kindle formats.

    I’m republishing a novel about the German Revolution called The Kaiser Goes: the Generals Remain, written by a participant in the naval mutinies which kicked the whole thing off. But the novel doesn’t just concern rebellion in the armed forces, there’s all kinds of other exciting events covered too!

    I first became aware of the novel when I noticed some quotations from it in Working Class Politics in the German Revolution1, Ralf Hoffrogge’s wonderful book about the revolutionary shop stewards’ movement in Germany during and just after World War I.

    I set about finding a copy of The Kaiser goes..., read it, and immediately wanted to make it more widely available by scanning it. The results are here.

    Below I’ve gathered together all the most readily accessible information about the novel’s author, Theodor Plivier, that I can find. Hopefully, the sources referenced will provide a useful basis for anybody who wants to do further research.

    Dan Radnika

    October 2015

    THEODOR Otto Richard PLIVIER – Some biographical details

    Theodor Plivier (called Plievier after 1933) was born on 12 February 1892 in Berlin and died on 12 March 1955 in Tessin, Switzerland.

    Since his death Plivier/Plievier has been mostly known in his native Germany as a novelist, particularly for his trilogy of novels about the fighting on the Eastern Front in WWII, made up of the works Moscow, Stalingrad and Berlin.

    He was the son of an artisan file-maker (Feilenhauer in German) and spent his childhood in the Gesundbrunnen district in Berlin. There is still a plaque dedicated to him on the house where he was born at 29 Wiesenstraße. He was interested in literature from an early age. He began an apprenticeship at 17 with a plasterer and left his family home shortly after. For his apprenticeship he traveled across the German Empire, in Austria-Hungary and in the Netherlands. After briefly returning to his parents, he joined up as a sailor in the merchant navy. He first visited South America in 1910, and worked in the sodium nitrate (saltpetre) mines in 1913 in Chile. This period of his life seems to have provided much of the material for the novel The World’s Last Corner (see below).

    He returned to Germany, Hamburg, in 1914, when he was still only 22. He was arrested by the police for a brawl in a sailors’ pub, and was thus “recruited” into the imperial navy just as the First World War broke out. He spent his time in service on the auxiliary cruiser SMS Wolf, commanded by the famous Commander Karl August Nerger. It was he who led a victorious war of patriotic piracy in the Atlantic, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific, seizing enemy ships and their cargo, taking their crews prisoner, and returning in glory to Kiel in February 1918. The activities of SMS Wolf are described in fictional form in the final chapter of Plivier’s The Kaiser’s Coolies (see below). The young Plivier didn’t set foot on land for 451 days, but while at sea he became converted to revolutionary ideas, like thousands of other German sailors. Nevertheless, he never joined a political party. In November 1918, he was in Wilhelmshaven and participated in the strikes, uprisings and revolts accompanying the fall of the German Empire, including the Kiel Mutiny. He also played a small role in the November Revolution in Berlin.

    He left the navy after the armistice (11 November 1918) and, with Karl Raichle and Gregor Gog (both sailor veterans of the Wilmhelmshaven revolt), founded the “Green Way Commune”, near Bad Urach. It was a sort of commune of revolutionaries, artists, poets, proto-hippies, and whoever turned up. Two early participants were the anarchist Erich Mühsam and Johannes Becher (see below), who was a member of the German Communist Party (KPD). At this time several communes were set up around Germany, with Urach being one of three vegetarian communes set up in the Swabia region2.

    It was the beginning of the anarchist-oriented “Edition of the 12” publishing house. Plivier was certainly influenced by the ideas of Bakunin, but also Nietzsche. Later he took on some kind of “individualist anarchism”, ensuring that he didn’t join any party or formal political organisation.

    In Berlin in 1920 he married the actress Maria Stoz3. He belonged to the circle of friends of Käthe Kollwitz4, the radical painter and sculptor, who painted his portrait. On Christmas Day 1920 he showed a delegation from the American IWW to the grave of Karl Liebknecht5. In the early ‘20s he seems to have associated with the anarcho-syndicalist union, the FAUD (Free Workers’ Union of Germany), and addressed its public meetings6.

    Plivier underwent a “personal crisis” and began to follow the example of the “back to nature” poet Gusto Gräser7, another regular resident of “Green Way” and a man seen as the leading figure in the subculture of poets and wandering mystics known (disparagingly at the time) as the “Inflation Saints” (Inflationsheilige)8. In the words of the historian Ulrich Linse, “When the revolutionaries were killed, were in prison or had given up, the hour of the wandering prophets came. As the outer revolution had fizzled out, they found its continuation in the consciousness-being-revolution, in a spiritual change”9. Plivier began wearing sandals and robes…10 According to the Mountain of Truth book (see footnote), in 1922, in Weimar, Plivier was preaching a neo-Tolstoyan gospel of peace and anarchism, much influenced by Gräser. That year he published Anarchy, advocating a “masterless order, built up out of the moral power of free individuals”. Supposedly, “he was a religious anarchist, frequently quoting from the Bible”11. This was not unusual amongst the Inflationsheilige.

    His son Peter and his daughter Thora died from malnutrition during the terrible times of crisis and hyper-inflation in 1923. A year later he began to find work as a journalist and translator. He then worked for some time in South America as a cattle trader and as secretary to the German consul in Pisagua, Chile. On his return to Germany he wrote Des Kaisers Kulis (“The Kaiser’s Coolies”) in 1929, which was published the following year. It was a story based on his days in the Imperial Navy, denouncing the imperialist war in no uncertain terms. At the front of the book is a dedication to two sailors who were executed for participation in a strike and demonstration by hundreds of sailors from the Prinzregent Luitpold12. Erwin Piscator put on a play of his novel at the Lessingtheater in Berlin, with the first showing on 30 August 1930. Der Kaiser ging, die Generälen blieben (“The Kaiser Goes: The Generals Remain”) was published in 1932. In both novels Plivier did an enormous amount of research, as well as drawing on his own memories of important historical events. In the original edition of Der Kaiser ging… there is a citations section at the end with fifty book titles and a list of newspapers and magazines consulted. This attention to historical fact was to become a hallmark of Plivier’s method as a novelist. The postscript to Der Kaiser ging… clearly states what he was trying to do:

    “I have cast this history in the form of a novel, because it is my belief that events which are brought about not by any exchange of diplomatic notes, but by the sudden collision of opposed forces, do not lend themselves to a purely scientific treatment. By that method one can merely assemble a selection of facts belonging to any particular period – only artistic re-fashioning can yield a living picture of the whole. As in my former book, The Kaiser’s Coolies, so I have tried here to preserve strict historic truth, and in so far as exact material was available I have used it as the basis of my work. All the events described, all the persons introduced, are drawn to the life and their words reproduced verbatim. Occasional statements which the sources preserve only in indirect speech are here given direct form. But in no instance has the sense been altered.”

    His second marriage (which didn’t produce any children) was to the Jewish actress Hildegard Piscator in 1931. When Hitler came to power as Chancellor in 1933, his books were banned and publically burnt. He changed his name to Plievier. That year he decided to emigrate, and at the end of a long journey which led him to Prague, Zurich, Paris and Oslo, he ended up in the Soviet Union.

    He was initially not subject to much censorship in Moscow and published accounts of his adventures and political commentaries. When Operation Barbarossa was launched he was evacuated to Tashkent along with other foreigners. Here, for example, he met up (again?) with Johannes Robert Becher, the future Culture Minister of the DDR! In September 1943 he became a member of the National Committee for a Free Germany (NKFD), which gathered anti-Nazi German exiles living in the USSR – not just Communist Party members, although there were a fair number of them involved. In 1945 he wrote Stalingrad, based on testimonies which he collected, with official permission, from German prisoners of war in camps around Moscow. This novel was initially published in occupied Berlin and Mexico, but ended up being translated into 14 languages and being adapted for the theatre and TV13. It describes in unflinching and pitiless detail the German military defeat and its roots in the megalomania of Hitler and the incompetence of the High Command. It is the only novel by Plievier that was written specifically as a work of state propaganda. It is certainly “defeatist”, but only on the German side – it is certainly not “revolutionary defeatist” like Plievier’s writings about WWI. The French writer Pierre Vaydat (in the French-language magazine of German culture, Germanica14) even suggests that it was clearly aimed at “the new military class which was the officer corps of the Wehrmacht” in an effort to encourage them to rise up against Hitler and save the honour of the German military. The novel nevertheless only appeared in a censored form in the USSR.

    He returned to Weimar at the end of 1945, as an official of the Red Army! For two years he worked as a delegate of the regional assembly, as director of publications and had a leading position in the “Cultural Association [Kulturbund] for German Democratic Renewal” which was a Soviet organisation devoted to changing attitudes in Germany and preparing its inclusion into the USSR’s economic and political empire. As with so much else in Plievier’s life, this episode was partly fictionalised in a novel, in this case his last ever novel, Berlin.

    Plievier ended up breaking with the Soviet system in 1948, and made an announcement to this effect to a gathering of German writers in Frankfurt in May of that year15. However, Plievier had taken a long and tortuous political path since his days as a revolutionary sailor in 1918… He clearly ended up supporting the Cold War – seeing the struggle against “Communist” totalitarianism as a continuation of the struggle against fascism (logically enough). What’s more, his views had taken on a somewhat religious tinge, talking of a “spiritual rebirth” whose foundations “begin with the Ten Commandments from Mount Sinai and end with the theses of the Atlantic Charter”! Although it can be read as a denunciation of the horrors of war in general, it’s clear that Berlin, his description of the collapse of Nazi Germany in 1945, is far more of a denunciation of Soviet Russia than anything else. The character Colonel Zecke, obviously a mouthpiece for Plievier’s views, even claims that Churchill and Roosevelt only bombed Dresden because they wanted to please Stalin. If you say so, Theo…! One virtue of Plievier’s single-minded attack on the Russian side is that he draws attention to the mass rape of German women by Russian soldiers. This was a war crime which it was not at all fashionable to mention at the time he was writing, despite the existence of perhaps as many as two million victims16.

    Berlin ends with one of the recurring characters in Plievier’s war novels being killed while participating in the East German worker’s revolt in 195317. Despite his conservative turn, Plievier obviously still has some of the spirit of Wilhelmshaven and can’t restrain himself from giving the rebellious workers some advice about how to organise a proletarian insurrection – seize the means of production! Another character says:

    “What use was it raising one’s fists against tanks, fighting with the Vopos [Volkspolizei – People’s Police], trampling down propaganda posters – one has to get into the vital works, to get busy at the waterworks, the power stations, the metropolitan railway! But the workers are without organisation, without leadership or a plan –the revolt has broken out like a steppes fire and is flickering away uncoordinated, in all directions at once.”

    He went to live in the British Zone of Occupation. He got married for a third time, in 1950, to Margarete Grote, and went to live next to Lake Constance. He published Moscow (Moskau) in 1952 and Berlin in 1954. He moved to Tessin in Switzerland in 1953, and died from a heart attack there in 1955, at the age of 63.

    His works – particularly the pro-revolutionary ones – are almost unknown in the English-speaking world (or anywhere else) today. The republication of The Kaiser Goes: The Generals Remain in electronic form is a modest attempt to remedy this!

    Finally, please read Plivier’s novels! Even the reactionary ones…

    #Allemagne #histoire #révolution #littérature


  • Donald Trump’s endless lying is meant to undermine free thought and democracy — and lead us into fascism | Alternet
    https://www.alternet.org/donald-trumps-endless-lying-meant-undermine-free-thought-and-democracy-and

    In an age when speed overcomes thought, a culture of immediacy blots out any vestige of historical memory and markets replace social categories, language loses its critical moorings and becomes what Chris Hedges has called “a gift to demagogues and the corporations that saturate the landscape with manipulated images and the idiom of mass culture.”

    No longer a vehicle for critique, doubt or possibility, language in the age of Donald Trump upholds the cultural and political workstations of ignorance and paves the way for a formative culture ripe with the death-saturated practices and protocols of fascist politics. As a species of neoliberal fascism eradicates social bonds and democratic communal relations, vulgarity parades as political wisdom and moral cowardice becomes a mark of pride. In a neoliberal age that has a high threshold of disappearance, the sins of a Vichy-inspired history have returned and are deeply rooted in a Republican Party that is as criminogenic as it is morally irresponsible and politically corrupt.

    Trump thrives on promoting social divisions and often references violence as a means of addressing them.

    The language of compassion, community and vulnerability is erased from government media sites, as is any reference to climate change. References to compassion, the grammar of ethics, justice and democracy wither as the institutions that enable and promote them are defunded, corporatized or privatized. The language of egoism, self-interest, hyper-masculinity and a vapid individualism erase any reference to social bonds, public commitments, the public good and the commons. Even worse, under the blitz of a rhetoric of bigotry, hatred and dehumanization, the ability to translate private issues into lager systemic and public concerns is diminished. The language of fascism is now reinforced by a culture of immediacy, stupidity, ignorance and civic illiteracy, and as such promotes a culture in which the only obligation of citizenship is consumption and the only emotion worth investing in is unbridled anger largely directed at Blacks, undocumented immigrants, Muslims, and the oppositional media.

    The endless lying is about more than diversion or a perpetual motion machine of absurdist theater. It is also about creating a mediascape where morality disappears and a criminogenic culture of thuggery, corruption, white supremacy and violence flourishes — and democracy dies. History seems to be repeating itself in a script in which language collapses into an ecosystem of falsehoods, militarism and racism.

    Jason Stanley, in his book, “How Fascism Works,” argues that the 10 pillars of a fascist politics are alive and well in the United States. The pillars he points to are the mythic past, propaganda, anti-intellectualism, unreality, hierarchy, victimhood, law and order, sexual anxiety and appeals to the heartland.

    In an age when civic literacy and holding the powerful accountable for their action are dismissed as “fake news,” ignorance becomes a breeding ground not just for hate but also for a culture that represses historical memory, shreds any understanding of the importance of shared values, refuses to make tolerance a non-negotiable element of civic dialogue and allows the powerful to poison everyday discourse.

    The threads of a general political and ideological crisis run deep in American history. With each tweet and policy decision, Trump pushes the United States closer to a full-fledged fascist state. His words sting, but his policies can kill people. Trump’s endless racist taunts, dehumanizing expressions of misogyny, relentless attacks on all provisions of the social state and ongoing contempt for the rule of law serve to normalize a creeping fascist politics. Moreover, his criminogenic disdain for any viable sense of civic and moral responsibility gives new meaning to an ethos of a selfishness and a culture of cruelty, if not terror, that has run amok in the United States.

    Under Trump, violence defines the political sphere, if not politics itself, and has become a mythic force in which all meaning, desire, relations and actions are framed with a friend/enemy divide. This is the worldview of the demagogue, and points alarmingly to a resurgence of a fascist ideology updated for the 21st century. Trump’s rhetoric of hate resembles the Nazi obsession with the discourse of elimination, ritualistic acts aimed at purging critical thought and undermining informed judgment. This is the discourse of barbarians, and a petri dish for nourishing the virus of a fascist politics.

    Of course, Trump is not simply some eccentric clown who happened to be elected by a body of angry and desperate sleepwalking voters. He is symptomatic of a savage form of neoliberalism that over the past 40 years has promoted a war against the welfare state, the most vulnerable and those deemed excess while punishing everyone else with austerity policies that also made the financial elite richer and major corporations more powerful.

    The debris of violent shootings, racism, religious intolerance, the fog of celebrity culture and the destruction of civic culture has cast an apocalyptic shadow over the future of both democracy and the United States. Trump represents a ghost of the past, and we should be terrified of the way it emboldens and resonates with what is happening both in the United States and in other countries such as Brazil, Poland, Turkey and Hungary.

    Une charge précise et bienvenue par un auteur que je ne connaissais pas

    Henry A. Giroux currently holds the McMaster University Chair for Scholarship in the Public Interest in the English and Cultural Studies Department and a Distinguished Visiting Professorship at Ryerson University. His most recent books are America’s Education Deficit and the War on Youth (Monthly Review Press, 2013) and Neoliberalism’s War on Higher Education (Haymarket Press, 2014). His web site is https://www.henryagiroux.com .


  • Oltre 500 ore consecutive di culto per non far espellere una famiglia migrante

    In Olanda la legge vieta di interrompere una funziona religiosa: per questo centinaia di pastori da oltre tre settimane si alternano per evitare il rimpatrio di una famiglia ospitata in chiesa.

    In Olanda una chiesa protestante de l’Aja sta tenendo un culto da oltre tre settimane consecutive per proteggere una famiglia di migranti dall’espulsione dal Paese.

    La storia è tanto semplice quanto geniale: secondo la legge statale le forze dell’ordine non possono interrompere una funzione religiosa in corso. Centinaia di pastori si stanno dunque alternando per non far cessare mai il culto cui sta partecipando la famiglia in questione, una coppia armena con tre figli di 15, 19 e 21 anni. L’idea è venuta al presidente del consiglio generale della Chiesa protestante olandese, il pastore Theo Hettema, una volta saputo che la famiglia, da ben 8 anni nei Paesi Bassi, con un figlio iscritto all’università e gli altri alle scuole dell’obbligo, rischiava il rimpatrio perché non può più godere delle tutele internazionali in quanto l’Armenia, terra d’origine dei cinque, non è considerata nazione a rischio.

    I cinque, cristiani, frequentano la chiesa protestante della cittadina in cui risiedono, Katwijk, nei pressi proprio de L’Aja, e una delle figlie svolge volontariato in una associazione legata alla chiesa. L’ appello del pastore Hettema ha raccolto l’adesione di centinaia di colleghi e di moltissimi membri di chiesa, provenienti anche dai Comuni vicini. Tutti consapevoli che la splendida iniziativa non potrà durare in eterno, ma con la speranza di far nel mentre cambiare idea al governo, che ha però più volte affermato che la famiglia non ha i requisiti per rimanere nel Paese. Otto anni per ottenere una risposta sulla possibilità di asilo o meno in una nazione rischiano di essere un tragico record, e ignorare che la famiglia si sia oramai integrata nel nuovo contesto pare un’inutile cattiveria.

    Quando i 5 non partecipano alla funzione, si riposano nei locali sopra la cappella. Un tempo in Italia le chiese erano luoghi di asilo e rifugio in cui le forze dell’ordine non potevano entrare, ma da oltre un secolo le cose sono cambiate (secondo quanto normato prima dalle leggi Siccardi del 1850 e quindi dai Patti Lateranensi del 1929 il cui l’articolo 5 recita comunque con formula ambigua “Salvo i casi di urgente necessità, la forza pubblica non potrà entrare, per l’esercizio delle sue funzioni, negli edifici aperti al culto, senza averne dato previo avviso all’autorità ecclesiastica”). Le norme in materia cambiano molto da Stato a Stato e non sono mancate in questi anni polemiche a seguito di arresti di migranti in chiesa (in Germania, in Islanda).

    La Chiesa protestante in Olanda, nata dalla fusione di tre precedenti chiese, la riformata olandese, la riformata in Olanda e la evangelica luterana, rappresenta circa un terzo dei 6 milioni di abitanti dei Paesi Bassi.

    https://riforma.it/it/articolo/2018/11/19/oltre-500-ore-consecutive-di-culto-non-far-espellere-una-famiglia-migrante
    #messe #résistance #expulsions #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Pays-Bas #culte #religion #refuge #Eglise #église

    • To Protect Migrants From Police, a Dutch Church Service Never Ends

      Jessa van der Vaart and Rosaliene Israel, two Dutch pastors, usually get to church by cycling through the streets of Amsterdam to a Protestant parish in the city center. But last Wednesday night, they packed their robes into the trunk of a car and drove down the highway to The Hague for what was the equivalent of a priestly shift change.

      They would take over at 8 p.m. from a local minister at the modest Bethel Church. Then, at 11 p.m., they would be replaced by a group from the city of Voorburg, who were scheduled to pull an all-nighter, singing hymns and preaching until daylight, when another cleric would arrive to take the baton.

      The two pastors from Amsterdam were running slightly late. “Well,” said Ms. van der Vaart, as Ms. Israel started the engine. “They’ll have to keep going till we get there.”

      For the marathon church service, which started more than six weeks ago, and hasn’t stopped since, can never take a break.

      Under an obscure Dutch law, the police may not disrupt a church service to make an arrest. And so for the past six weeks, immigration officials have been unable to enter Bethel Church to seize the five members of the Tamrazyan family, Armenian refugees who fled to the sanctuary to escape a deportation order.

      The service, which began in late October as a little-noticed, last-gasp measure by a small group of local ministers, is now a national movement, attracting clergy members and congregants from villages and cities across the Netherlands. More than 550 pastors from about 20 denominations have rotated through Bethel Church, a nonstop service all in the name of protecting one vulnerable family.

      “It’s about practicing what we preach,” said Ms. van der Vaart, as she and Ms. Israel sped down the Netherlands’ A4 highway toward the church.

      At a moment when Christianity’s relevance in Europe is waning — and when xenophobia and nationalism are rising — the Bethel service has also been a reminder of the influence that religious institutions can still exert in a largely secular Western Europe. The pastors have given protection to the Tamrazyan family; the family has given them a cause to show the power of their faith.

      “We’re kind of struggling here as churches in the West, we’re more and more in the margins, and as church leaders we can kind of feel this,” said Ms. Israel, who is the secretary general of Protestant Church Amsterdam.

      “But with this,” she added, “we feel that what we’re doing is quite relevant.”

      In recent years, nationalists have used xenophobic messaging to win office in Italy, Hungary and Austria, and achieve prominence in Sweden, Germany, Britain, France and the Netherlands, underscoring the impression of a European continent that is turning inward. But as the two pastors reached the outskirts of The Hague, Ms. van der Vaart said the marathon at Bethel shows that another Europe still exists.

      “I often think we’re entering times with less and less solidarity,” said Ms. van der Vaart, the vicar at the Oude Kerk, the oldest church and building in Amsterdam. “But then this initiative is all about solidarity, and that gives me hope.”
      An Unassuming Hideaway

      If you weren’t looking for it, you might walk straight past Bethel Church, a red-brick building tucked away on a quiet side-street in The Hague. Inside is a wider complex, which includes accommodation for the Tamrazyan family, as well as various offices and meeting rooms. At first it seems sort of mundane.

      When Ms. van der Vaart and Ms. Israel arrived, with a few minutes to spare, there were no police officers waiting to pounce. The sheer fact of the ongoing service is enough to keep them away. The two pastors quickly donned their robes and hurried into the chapel. On the tiled wall behind the altar hung a migration-themed interpretation of the Madonna and child — a portrait of an African refugee and her baby, dressed as Mary and Jesus.

      In the pews sat roughly a dozen worshipers, some of whom had come before, some there for the first time. Most were believers, but one or two were not.

      “I’m not religious but when I heard about this, I said to my husband, ‘Don’t be shocked, but I want to go to church,’” said Florine Kuethe, a public relations consultant who later agreed to help the church deal with the heightening news media interest. “This type of thing makes the church relevant again.”

      Inside the chapel, the pastors began with a greeting, then a rousing Dutch hymn, then Psalm 82.

      “Rescue the weak and the needy,” read the translation of one line. “Deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”

      The three Tamrazyan children — Haryarpi, 21, Warduhi, 19, and Seyran, 15 — came in and out, frequently playing an active part in the service. Journalists, however, were only allowed in for brief sequences, a rule the pastors said was to ensure that the service retained its spiritual value, instead of becoming a media spectacle.

      “Sometimes I look back and ask why it has been as big as it has,” said Pastor Derk Stegeman, a spokesman for the family, and the service’s main organizer. “It’s because we protected our service and did not make it into an action for other things.”

      Where It All Began

      The story of the service started not in The Hague but in Katwijk, a large seaside town southwest of Amsterdam. The Tamrazyan family ended up there after the father was forced to flee Armenia for political reasons in 2010, Mr. Stegeman said. At the family’s request, their full predicament has been kept a secret, along with the names of the parents, to prevent repercussions for relatives still in Armenia.

      In a six-year legal process, Dutch officials twice tried to deny the family asylum, and were twice defeated in court. But the government finally got its way on its third attempt, even though the three children had all been in the country for more than five years and were theoretically eligible for an amnesty under legislation enacted in 2013.

      Lennart Wegewijs, a spokesman for the Dutch ministry of justice and security, said that the government could not comment on individual cases. But speaking generally, he said that under Dutch law, families can only qualify for amnesty if they, somewhat paradoxically, are willing to cooperate with official efforts to deport them from the country.

      To avoid what they believed to be certain danger back in Armenia, the Tamrazyans did not cooperate. Instead, they took refuge in a church in Katwijk. It was when that first church ran out of resources to help them that the leadership at Bethel agreed, after some deliberation, to welcome the family instead.

      As well as maintaining round-the-clock prayers, the church has provided psychological help for the family and teaching for the children, who can no longer go to school or university classes.

      To avoid compounding their stress, the family rarely gives interviews, and they made no exception for The New York Times.

      But on a blog that Haryarpi, the eldest child, started soon after entering the church, she has written about the relief of being granted shelter.

      “I often think the only place where I am safe is the church,” she wrote in Dutch on Nov. 4. “It really feels like a refuge.”

      The pastors have promised to continue the service indefinitely — even after a Dutch minister, Mark Harbers, said on Friday that the service hadn’t changed the government’s mind.

      Initially, the nonstop services were run by a core group of around a dozen pastors. Some of them pulled all-nighters on their own, including Mr. Stegeman and his wife. But a few days into the process, the Protestant Church in the Netherlands endorsed the service and used its newsletter to encourage other congregations to participate.

      Soon it became hard to fit all the volunteers into the schedule.

      “It’s amazing,” said Mr. Stegeman. “From all over our country people are coming, from the north to the very south, west and east.”

      Some preachers simply reuse services and sermons they gave at other churches. But others have used the opportunity to try something new, turning the church into a kind of greenhouse for liturgical experiments.

      Ms. Israel read from a modern reinterpretation of the biblical story of King David and his wife Bathsheba, told from Bathsheba’s perspective. One minister incorporated meditative song into her service, and another interspersed prayers and hymns with sermons from Martin Luther King Jr. During one all-nighter, Mr. Stegeman even brought along a harpist.

      “You see preachers from every background across the country, bringing their own way of celebrating and worshiping that is different hour by hour,” said Pauline Kuipers, who chairs the fund that owns the church. “It goes on continuously but it changes all the time.”

      By 11 p.m., the two pastors from Amsterdam were relieved by the group that had just arrived from Voorburg.

      After three hours of singing, preaching and praying, Ms. van der Vaart’s voice was now slightly hoarse, and Ms. Israel admitted to being “a little bit tired.”

      But she was also moved. As Ms. Israel left the chapel, Haryarpi told her that she had been inspired to write a poem about one of the psalms they had sung.

      “For me, that’s what it’s all about,” Ms. Israel said a few minutes later, packing her robes back into her cycling bag.

      “You could read that psalm a hundred times and not get touched by it,” she said. “But here, in this night, in Bethel Church, it’s very real.”

      https://www.nytimes.com/2018/12/10/world/europe/migrants-dutch-church-service.html

    • Dutch church clocks up 1,400 hours to prevent family being deported

      A non-stop church service in the Netherlands — aimed at stopping an Armenian family from being deported — has become so popular it has issued tickets for the Christmas period to control numbers.


      The service has been going around the clock since October 26 — more than 1,400 hours.
      Under Dutch law, police officers are not permitted to enter a church while a religious service is taking place. So, church leaders hatched the idea of meeting non-stop to prevent the Tamrazyan’s from being removed from the country.
      https://edition.cnn.com/2018/12/24/europe/non-stop-church-service-netherlands-armenia-intl/index.html


  • Austrian wins Ireland’s biggest international art award

    https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/austrian-wins-ireland-s-biggest-international-art-award-1.3691393

    Un des co-fondateur du Vegetable orchestra de Vienne

    Austrian artist #Nikolaus_Gansterer has won the 2018 MAC International prize.

    The work of the 44-year-old Vienna-based artist was chosen from more than 800 international submissions for the £20,000 award, which has been described as “Ireland’s Turner Prize”.

    The award, which is funded by the Arts Council of Northern Ireland, Tourism NI and Belfast City Council, is Ireland’s largest art prize and one of the most substantial in the UK.

    The shortlist of 13 included artists from Ireland, Italy, Romania, Hungary, Croatia, Canada, USA, Palestine, Austria, France and Turkey. The artists worked across a range of mediums including photography, film, installation, sculpture and drawing.

    #art #autriche


  • Croatia, criminalisation of solidarity

    With 700 cases of reports of violence and theft against migrants at the border, Croatia holds the negative record among the countries of the area. Meanwhile, intimidation against solidarity increases and the first convictions pour down.

    “At the end of August 2015, when the first wave of refugees came to our territory, with a group of friends we went every day to help in Bapska, in Tovarnik, later in Opatovac. It was solidarity that moved me. Here in Croatia many were refugees not so long ago and still remembered what it means to be driven out of your home. At that time, the borders were open and refugees were still seen as human beings. We worked together, volunteers from all over the world, the police, the locals who collected food and basic necessities. It was nice to see how people managed to organise, and very quickly”, recalls Dragan Umičević.

    Dragan, a retired veteran from Osijek, has continued to volunteer for refugees both in Croatia and in Serbia and Greece. When the Balkan route was already closed, in collaboration with the NGO Are you syrious? (AYS), he assisted some refugees by going personally to the border with Serbia, to be sure they were allowed to apply for asylum in Croatia. In fact, for some time now, many NGO testimonies on the field agree that the Croatian police carries out illegal rejections of refugees, accompanied by violence, denying them the right to asylum.
    “Unwitting negligence”

    On the night of March 21st, 2018, being the closest volunteer, Dragan went to Strošinci on the recommendation of AYS, that was in contact with a group of refugees who had just entered Croatian territory. Among them were the family members of Madina Hussiny, the little Afghan girl who was hit by a train after her group, in a previous attempt to cross the border, had been illegally returned to Serbia by the Croatian police.

    “In a group of 14 people there were 11 minors, including some very young children. There was a storm, they were frozen, wet, worn out. At the border I contacted the police, explaining the situation, and acted in cooperation with them. It would not have been possible to do otherwise”, continues Umičević, who then indicated the way to the refugees by flashing the headlights of his car. “When the refugees arrived, the police told me I could go home, but I preferred to take them to the police station to make sure that their asylum application was presented. After an informal interview, during which no accusation against me was advanced, I left”.

    Two weeks later, however, Umičević learned that he had earned the ungrateful role of the first activist targeted by a judicial proceeding for a crime of solidarity in Croatia. Charges questioned both the fact that the police had authorised him to flash to the group of refugees and his awareness, at the time, of the exact position of the refugees in relation to the Croatian border.

    In first instance, he was found guilty of “unwitting negligence” – as, despite being notified of the geolocation of the group of refugees, already in Croatia, he acted without being able to verify it – and sentenced to pay a fine of 60,000 kunas (over 8,000 Euros). The prosecution, however, had requested a fine of 320,000 kunas, two months in prison for the volunteer, and the ban on the activity of AYS.

    “The purpose of the sentence is to discourage volunteers, who will think twice before engaging, especially if the sentence is confirmed, and then the police will have their hands free. This can be transferred to other segments of everyday life”, concludes Umičević, who is now awaiting the appeal. In the meantime, he has received the solidarity of the people around him, civil society, and some media. “That I know of, no politician has expressed solidarity. They have nothing to gain from that”. Indeed, the Croatian political scene has been silent not only in front of his case, but in the face of the systematic violations of refugee rights in general.
    Violations of human rights

    On October 23rd, Platforma 112 , which brings together many Croatian human rights organisations, once again invited Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and Interior Minister Davor Božinović to suspend attacks on associations supporting refugees, demanding independent investigations and punishment not of those who defend human rights, but those who violate them.

    This was only the last of the appeals, which followed the letter from Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatović to Prime Minister Plenković, in which the Croatian government was asked to stop police violence on refugees trying to enter the country.

    The reticence of the Croatian police in providing access to information was also highlighted in the 2017 report by ombuswoman Lora Vidović, whose office, as reported on the official site itself , receives daily inquiries by foreign and local media on cases of violence and violation of rights – impossibility of applying for asylum in the country – to the detriment of refugees.

    The appeal by Platforma 112 has fallen on deaf ears, with no reaction from either Croatian politics or European governments. For a European Union that seeks to outsource the management of refugee flows as much as possible and no matter what, violence on its doorsteps is not news. According to UNHCR report Desperate Journeys , with 700 reported cases of violence and theft at the border, Croatia holds the negative record among the countries of the area, compared to 150 and 140 cases, respectively, in Hungary and Romania.

    Intimidations against solidarity in Croatia have intensified since Madina’s family entered the country. The family was detained in the Tovarnik closed camp for over two months after applying for asylum in Croatia, and transferred to an open structure only after repeated interventions by the European Court of Human Rights. The NGOs (AYS and Center for Peace Studies) and lawyers (Ivo Jelavić and Sanja Bezbradica) who supported the family in their search for the truth received pressures. Umičević’s conviction is part of this framework.
    The media debate

    The Croatian events cannot be separated from the European context of criminalisation of solidarity, with a series of judicial proceedings in Italy, France, Hungary, and elsewhere. Moreover, the collaboration of border police in implementing chain rejections from Italy to Slovenia, Croatia, and Bosnia and Herzegovina was exposed by a recent report by La Stampa .

    However, what currently stands out in Croatia is the aggressive media campaign against refugees, also stimulated in recent weeks by the news from Velika Kladuša, Bosnia and Herzegovina, where thousands of individuals are pressing at the borders of the European Union.

    In particular, a piece by a well-known right-wing opinionist can be seen as a sort of manifesto of the new right wing – sovereignist, anti-migrant, and contrary to secularisation.

    On Večernji List, Nino Raspudić compared those who selflessly help refugees to the bizarre case of a Dutch tourist hospitalised for the bite of a viper she had tried to pet. Both cases would show a deformed view of reality typical of Western civilisation, unable to recognise true evil and danger, but “happy to kill unborn children and send parents to euthanasia”. The article continues by attacking NGOs, defined as “traffickers”, “criminals, mobsters, mercenaries”, attached “to Soros’ breast”. These are the same accusations periodically circulated by obscure media and Serbian, Bulgarian, Macedonian, Hungarian, and now also Italian politicians, conflating otherwise conflicting extreme right discourses in the hate speech against refugees.

    In the column Reakcija, also hosted by Večernji List, opinionist Mate Miljić stated that the European Union is to blame for the pressure of migrants at Croatian borders because, “in its will to create a multicultural melting pot, it has allowed mass illegal immigration”. Moreover, in his opinion, the left would be ready to cut pensions for war veterans to “give them to illegal migrants”.

    Trvtko Barun, director of Jesuit Refugee Service, replied to Raspudić on the same newspaper. Pointing to the dangers of calling to hatred and using distorted images, Barun cited Pope Bergoglio’s positions on refugees, that struggle to be received in the Croatian Catholic Church.
    Narratives of fear

    In addition to direct crusades, however, the Croatian press is spreading narratives that stimulate the construction of barriers, fuelling suspicion, fear, and lack of empathy toward refugees.

    In the days of pressure on the borders of Velika Kladuša, following a declaration by a local police inspector, the news circulated for days that a migrant suspected of murdering five people in Macedonia had been arrested, even after this was categorically denied by the sources of the Macedonian Interior Ministry.

    The very hierarchy of the news shows the construction – intentional or not – of a narrative of suspicion and fear, with refugees (now called “illegal migrants”) without faces, names, and stories, seen exclusively as a threat to public order.

    The story of some refugees who, in days of bad weather, allegedly entered some vacant holiday homes in the mountain region of Gorski Kotar, to seek shelter and dry clothes, received great attention nationally, although the damage amounted to a few hundred Euros.

    As elsewhere in Europe, also in Croatia the many fake news and the prejudices circulating on the web – both on registered outlets and on social networks – find in the fear of the other fertile ground to build easy consensus and grab clicks. In a piece on Novi List, however, Ladislav Tomičić recalled that the habit of resorting to lying will leave a mark in society, which will pay the price also when the wave of refugees is exhausted.

    https://www.balcanicaucaso.org/eng/Areas/Croatia/Croatia-criminalisation-of-solidarity-190998
    #Croatie #asile #migrations #réfugiés #solidarité #délit_de_solidarité

    • La Croatie criminalise la solidarité

      6 novembre — 14h15 : Le 23 octobre, la plate-forme 112, qui réunit de nombreuses associations d’aide aux réfugiés, a appelé le Premier ministre Andrej Plenković et le ministre de l’Intérieur Davor Božinović à suspendre les attaques judiciaires en cours contre les associations de solidarité, qui se sont multipliées ces derniers mois. Dans le même temps, la majorité des médias croates, notamment le quotidien Večernji List multiplient les articles et les éditoriaux très hostiles aux réfugiés, réclamant parfois la création d’un mur sur la frontière avec la Bosnie-Herzégovine.

      via Courrier des Balkans : https://www.courrierdesbalkans.fr/Bosnie-police-renforts-frontieres

    • Croatie : sale temps pour les ONG d’aide aux réfugiés

      Les bénévoles et employés d’ONG d’aide aux réfugiés en Croatie sont confrontés quasiment tous les jours à des intimidations, dénonce le réseau de médias européens Euractiv. Des menaces anonymes et actes de vandalisme qui font suite aux tentatives du ministère de l’Intérieur de criminaliser les activités de ces organisations humanitaires.

      Le ministère de l’Intérieur a récemment refusé de prolonger son accord de coopération avec le Centre pour les études de la paix (CMS), une organisation qui s’occupe des réfugiés et demandeurs d’asile depuis quinze ans. Suite à cette décision, le CMS est désormais interdit de se rendre dans les centres d’accueil, tandis que ses bénévoles ne peuvent plus enseigner le croate ni fournir une aide juridique aux réfugiés qui suivent un parcours d’intégration.

      L’ONG Are You Syrious (AYS), qui travaille avec les réfugiés depuis 2015, a quant à elle vu ses bureaux vandalisés à plusieurs reprises au cours des dernières semaines. Les murs et un véhicule de l’organisation ont été tagués. Lors d’attaques précédentes, des briques avaient été jetés sur les fenêtres et les véhicules de l’organisation.

      Des attaques qui se produisent alors que les discours de haine à l’encontre des réfugiés se généralisent en Croatie et dans le reste de l’Europe. Pour Sara Kekuš (CMS), citée par Euractiv, c’est résultat de « la politique européenne actuelle envers les réfugiés [...] que la droite extrême qualifie fréquemment de migrants illégaux et présente comme une menace pour toute l’Europe », déclare-t-elle.

      AYS est également l’objet d’intimidations sur les réseaux sociaux avec des messages les accusant d’être « à la solde de Soros pour islamiser l’Europe », d’aider « les terroristes et les violeurs », et les menaçant de « punitions conséquentes ». Mi-novembre, le Centre pour l’intégration, qui dépend d’AYS, et son entrepôt à Novi Zagreb ont été vandalisés avec un graffiti « Les immigrants ne sont pas les bienvenus » inscrit sur un mur et « Fuck Isis » tagué sur leur véhicule. « Tout cela a lieu, alors que le ministre de l’Intérieur Davor Božinović a déclaré au Parlement que notre organisation était impliquée dans d’obscures activités de trafic », rappelle Asja Korbar d’AYS.

      Le ministère de l’Intérieur a exercé des pressions sur le CMS et AYS après que ces deux ONG ont publié des témoignages de récurrentes violences policières à l’encontre des réfugiés. La situation s’est détériorée après la mort de Madini Husini, une fillette qui a perdu la vie le 21 novembre 2017 le long de la voie ferrée Tovarnik-Šid, près de la frontière serbe. « Quand on s’est saisi de l’affaire, le ministère de l’Intérieur a commencé à nous criminaliser », explique Sara Kekuš. « Il s’est mis à associer notre organisation à des trafiquants et à criminaliser notre travail plutôt que d’enquêter sur cette mort et de résoudre l’affaire. »

      Les déclarations du ministère de l’Intérieur ont été fermement condamnées par la médiatrice de la Réublique, Lora Vidović. « Les trafiquants sont les ennemis des droits humains et constituent une menace pour les migrants, ils ne doivent donc pas être associés aux ONG qui agissent conformément aux lois croates », a-t-elle affirmé, avant de conclure : « Je suis sûre qu’il ne s’agit que d’une poignée d’individus et que la majorité des citoyens condamne ces violences, mais il est très important que les institutions fassent passer le même message et poursuivent les responsables ».

      https://www.courrierdesbalkans.fr/Croatie-ONG-refugies


  • EU border ’lie detector’ system criticised as pseudoscience

    Technology that analyses facial expressions being trialled in Hungary, Greece and Latvia.

    The EU has been accused of promoting pseudoscience after announcing plans for a “#smart_lie-detection_system” at its busiest borders in an attempt to identify illegal migrants.

    The “#lie_detector”, to be trialled in Hungary, Greece and Latvia, involves the use of a computer animation of a border guard, personalised to the traveller’s gender, ethnicity and language, asking questions via a webcam.

    The “deception detection” system will analyse the micro-expressions of those seeking to enter EU territory to see if they are being truthful about their personal background and intentions. Those arriving at the border will be required to have uploaded pictures of their passport, visa and proof of funds.

    According to an article published by the European commission, the “unique approach to ‘deception detection’ analyses the micro-expressions of travellers to figure out if the interviewee is lying”.

    The project’s coordinator, George Boultadakis, who works for the technology supplier, European Dynamics, in Luxembourg, said: “We’re employing existing and proven technologies – as well as novel ones – to empower border agents to increase the accuracy and efficiency of border checks. The system will collect data that will move beyond biometrics and on to biomarkers of deceit.”

    Travellers who have been flagged as low risk by the #avatar, and its lie detector, will go through a short re-evaluation of their information for entry. Those judged to be of higher risk will undergo a more detailed check.

    Border officials will use a handheld device to automatically crosscheck information, comparing the facial images captured during the pre-screening stage to passports and photos taken on previous border crossings.

    When documents have been reassessed, and fingerprinting, palm-vein scanning and face matching have been carried out, the potential risk will be recalculated. A border guard will then take over from the automated system.

    The project, which has received €4.5m (£3.95m) in EU funding, has been heavily criticised by experts.

    Bruno Verschuere, a senior lecturer in forensic psychology at the University of Amsterdam, told the Dutch newspaper De Volskrant he believed the system would deliver unfair outcomes.
    A neuroscientist explains: the need for ‘empathetic citizens’ - podcast

    “Non-verbal signals, such as micro-expressions, really do not say anything about whether someone is lying or not,” he said. “This is the embodiment of everything that can go wrong with lie detection. There is no scientific foundation for the methods that are going to be used now.

    “Once these systems are put into use, they will not go away. The public will only hear the success stories and not the stories about those who have been wrongly stopped.”

    Verschuere said there was no evidence for the assumption that liars were stressed and that this translated to into fidgeting or subtle facial movements.

    Bennett Kleinberg, an assistant professor in data science at University College London, said: “This can lead to the implementation of a pseudoscientific border control.”

    A spokesman for the project said: “The border crossing decision is not based on the single tool (ie lie detection) but on the aggregated risk estimations based on a risk-based approach and technology that has been used widely in custom procedures.

    “Therefore, the overall procedure is safe because it is not relying in the risk on one analysis (ie the lie detector) but on the correlated risks from various analysis.”

    The technology has been designed by a consortium of the Hungarian national police, Latvian customs, and Manchester Metropolitan and Leibnitz universities. Similar technology is being developed in the US, where lie detection is widely used in law enforcement, despite scepticism over its scientific utility in much of the rest of the world.

    Last month, engineers at the University of Arizona said they had developed a system that they hoped to install on the US-Mexico border known as the #Automated_Virtual_Agent_for_Truth_Assessments_in_Real-Time, or Avatar.

    https://www.theguardian.com/world/2018/nov/02/eu-border-lie-detection-system-criticised-as-pseudoscience?CMP=share_bt
    #wtf #what_the_fuck #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #technologie #expressions_faciales #Grèce #Hongrie #Lettonie #mensonge #abus #gardes-frontière #biométrie #biomarqueurs #corps #smart_borders #risques #université #science-fiction
    ping @reka @isskein

    • Smart lie-detection system to tighten EU’s busy borders

      An EU-funded project is developing a way to speed up traffic at the EU’s external borders and ramp up security using an automated border-control system that will put travellers to the test using lie-detecting avatars. It is introducing advanced analytics and risk-based management at border controls.

      More than 700 million people enter the EU every year – a number that is rapidly rising. The huge volume of travellers and vehicles is piling pressure on external borders, making it increasingly difficult for border staff to uphold strict security protocols – checking the travel documents and biometrics of every passenger – whilst keeping disruption to a minimum.

      To help, the EU-funded project IBORDERCTRL is developing an ‘intelligent control system’ facilitating – making faster – border procedures for bona fide and law-abiding travellers. In this sense, the project is aiming to deliver more efficient and secure land border crossings to facilitate the work of border guards in spotting illegal immigrants, and so contribute to the prevention of crime and terrorism.

      ‘We’re employing existing and proven technologies – as well as novel ones – to empower border agents to increase the accuracy and efficiency of border checks,’ says project coordinator George Boultadakis of European Dynamics in Luxembourg. ‘IBORDERCTRL’s system will collect data that will move beyond biometrics and on to biomarkers of deceit.’
      Smart ‘deception detection’

      The IBORDERCTRL system has been set up so that travellers will use an online application to upload pictures of their passport, visa and proof of funds, then use a webcam to answer questions from a computer-animated border guard, personalised to the traveller’s gender, ethnicity and language. The unique approach to ‘deception detection’ analyses the micro-expressions of travellers to figure out if the interviewee is lying.

      This pre-screening step is the first of two stages. Before arrival at the border, it also informs travellers of their rights and travel procedures, as well as providing advice and alerts to discourage illegal activity.

      The second stage takes place at the actual border. Travellers who have been flagged as low risk during the pre-screening stage will go through a short re-evaluation of their information for entry, while higher-risk passengers will undergo a more detailed check.

      Border officials will use a hand-held device to automatically cross-check information, comparing the facial images captured during the pre-screening stage to passports and photos taken on previous border crossings. After the traveller’s documents have been reassessed, and fingerprinting, palm vein scanning and face matching have been carried out, the potential risk posed by the traveller will be recalculated. Only then does a border guard take over from the automated system.

      At the start of the IBORDERCTRL project, researchers spent a lot of time learning about border crossings from border officials themselves, through interviews, workshops, site surveys, and by watching them at work.

      It is hoped that trials about to start in Hungary, Greece and Latvia will prove that the intelligent portable control system helps border guards reliably identify travellers engaging in criminal activity. The trials will start with lab testing to familiarise border guards with the system, followed by scenarios and tests in realistic conditions along the borders.
      A mounting challenge

      ‘The global maritime and border security market is growing fast in light of the alarming terror threats and increasing terror attacks taking place on European Union soil, and the migration crisis,” says Boultadakis.

      As a consequence, the partner organisations of IBORDERCTRL are likely to benefit from this growing European security market – a sector predicted to be worth USD 146 billion (EUR 128 bn) in Europe by 2020.

      Project details

      Project acronym: #iBorderCtrl
      Participants: Luxembourg (Coordinator), Greece, Cyprus, United Kingdom, Poland, Spain, Hungary, Germany, Latvia
      Project N°: 700626
      Total costs: € 4 501 877
      EU contribution: € 4 501 877
      Duration: September 2016 to August 2019


      http://ec.europa.eu/research/infocentre/article_en.cfm?artid=49726

    • AVATAR - Automated Virtual Agent for Truth Assessments in Real-Time

      There are many circumstances, particularly in a border-crossing scenario, when credibility must be accurately assessed. At the same time, since people deceive for a variety of reasons, benign and nefarious, detecting deception and determining potential risk are extremely difficult. Using artificial intelligence and non-invasive sensor technologies, BORDERS has developed a screening system called the Automated Virtual Agent for Truth Assessments in Real-Time (AVATAR). The AVATAR is designed to flag suspicious or anomalous behavior that warrants further investigation by a trained human agent in the field. This screening technology may be useful at Land Ports of Entry, airports, detention centers, visa processing, asylum requests, and personnel screening.

      The AVATAR has the potential to greatly assist DHS by serving as a force multiplier that frees personnel to focus on other mission-critical tasks, and provides more accurate decision support and risk assessment. This can be accomplished by automating interviews and document/biometric collection, and delivering real-time multi-sensor credibility assessments in a screening environment. In previous years, we have focused on conducting the basic research on reliably analyzing human behavior for deceptive cues, better understanding the DHS operational environment, and developing and testing a prototype system.

      Principal Investigators:
      #Aaron_Elkins
      #Doug_Derrick
      #Jay_Nunamaker, Jr.
      #Judee_Burgoon
      Status:
      Current

      http://borders.arizona.edu/cms/projects/avatar-automated-virtual-agent-truth-assessments-real-time
      #University_of_Arizona

    • Un #détecteur_de_mensonges bientôt testé aux frontières de l’Union européenne

      L’Union européenne va tester dans un avenir proche un moyen de réguler le passage des migrants sur certaines de ses frontières, en rendant celui-ci plus simple et plus rapide. Ce moyen prendra la forme d’un détecteur de mensonges basé sur l’intelligence artificielle.

      Financé depuis 2016 par l’UE, le projet iBorderCtrl fera bientôt l’objet d’un test qui se déroulera durant six mois sur quatre postes-frontière situés en Hongrie, en Grèce et en Lettonie. Il s’avère que chaque année, environ 700 millions de nouvelles personnes arrivent dans l’UE, et les gardes-frontières ont de plus en plus de mal à effectuer les vérifications d’usage.

      Ce projet iBorderCtrl destiné à aider les gardes-frontières n’est autre qu’un détecteur de mensonges reposant sur une intelligence artificielle. Il s’agit en somme d’une sorte de garde frontière virtuel qui, après avoir pris connaissance des documents d’un individu (passeport, visa et autres), lui fera passer un interrogatoire. Ce dernier devra donc faire face à une caméra et répondre à des questions.

      L’IA en question observera la personne et fera surtout attention aux micro-mouvements du visage, le but étant de détecter un éventuel mensonge. À la fin de l’entretien, l’individu se verra remettre un code QR qui déterminera son appartenance à une des deux files d’attente, c’est-à-dire les personnes acceptées et celles – sur lesquelles il subsiste un doute – qui feront l’objet d’un entretien plus poussé avec cette fois, des gardes-frontières humains.

      Le système iBorderCtrl qui sera bientôt testé affiche pour l’instant un taux de réussite de 74 %, mais les porteurs du projet veulent atteindre au moins les 85 %. Enfin, évoquons le fait que ce dispositif pose assez logiquement des questions éthiques, et a déjà de nombreux opposants  !

      L’IA a été présentée lors du Manchester Science Festival qui s’est déroulé du 18 au 29 octobre 2018, comme le montre la vidéo ci-dessous :
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9fsd3Ubqi38

      https://sciencepost.fr/2018/11/un-detecteur-de-mensonges-bientot-teste-aux-frontieres-de-lunion-europee


  • Reinforcement of the southern borders because of nonexistent migratory pressure

    Since Gergely Gulyás, Viktor Orbán’s new chief-of-staff, has taken over, the so-called “government info” press conferences introduced by his predecessor János Lázár are held only every second Thursday. On the last such occasion, on October 25, Gulyás announced that, according to “the information of the Hungarian and European intelligence services, approximately 70,000 refugees are heading toward Hungary along the old Balkan route, and therefore the Hungarian government has offered assistance” to Croatia and has decided to reinforce the Croatian-Hungarian border.

    Prior to that day, I found only one short news item in Magyar Idők which reported that rumors were circulating among refugees stuck in Bosnia-Hercegovina that Zagreb would allow them to cross into Croatia, and from there they could proceed to Western Europe. About 100 refugees spent the night at the Bosnian-Croatian border in the hope of entry, but the Croatian ministry of interior denied the story. The paper gave official figures on the refugee situation in Bosnia. Since the beginning of the year 20,000 migrants have arrived in the country, but 13,000 were turned away. At the moment only 4,000-5,000 refugees can be found in Bosnia, some of whom are clustered in Bihać, close to the Croatian-Bosnian border. Those who manage to get into Croatia unnoticed usually go to Slovenia and from there to Trieste, Italy.

    I looked high and low on the internet to find the 70,000 refugees heading toward Hungary but was unsuccessful. In fact, according to the UN Refugee Agency, only 26,548 refugees arrived in Greece in 2018. So, I suspect that Gergely Gulyás’s story of 70,000 migrants was another instance of purposeful disinformation intended to mislead Hungarians fearful of migrants. Strengthening the Croatian-Hungarian border can serve only one purpose: to keep the fear of migrants alive among the population. I’m almost certain that the overwhelming majority of Hungarians don’t have any idea where Bihać is and that they would be surprised to hear that it is 6.5 hours away by car from #Röszke.
    The story of those migrants who managed to get through from Bihać to Italy, France, or Germany is vividly told by Davide Lemmi in his article “From Bosnia to Trieste, migrants’ journey across the new Balkan route” in Lifegate. The journey’s most difficult leg is the migrants’ stay in Croatia, where they are cautioned to remain in wooded areas near the Slovene border, which is far from the Hungarian-Croatian border Hungary is now reinforcing because of the alleged new migrant onslaught threatening the country.

    Of course, this new “danger” requires more money for border defense. On the very same day that Gulyás announced the new danger coming from Croatia, the government approved another 24 billion forints “for the handling of the extraordinary migratory pressure” that had presented itself. Although since the fence was erected in September 2015 Hungary hasn’t had any “migratory pressure” to speak of, just in 2017 the Hungarian government spent 155.1 billion forints on border defense. Given the opacity in which the Orbán government operates, we don’t really know where these large sums of money have been and will be going.

    Every time the government announces some new real or fake news, the regime’s faithful “national security experts” also show up. Georg Spöttle, a man of dubious past and dubious expertise, is always ready to claim that Hungary is in danger. Since there was a small clash between the refugees and the Croatian police 500 km away near Bihać, Spöttle predicted that “the scene will soon be repeated” along the Hungarian border. Therefore, more policemen and soldiers should be stationed there. In addition, the “weak spots” of the border fence should be reinforced with stronger fencing. It is possible that the source of Gergely Gulyás’s 70,000 migrants who are heading toward Hungary is Georg Spöttle, who told Hír TV that “at this very moment the number of migrants who are stuck in one of the Balkan countries is 60-70,000.” Where this figure comes from no one knows.

    The story of the clash in which some women and children were injured was widely covered in the government media. It is typical of the low level of government journalism that one of the journalists from Magyar Hírlap mixed up the name of the alleged Iranian instigator with the name of a Bosnian town, Velika Kladuša, where a fair number of refugees can be found, something that would be really ridiculous if it weren’t so sad. Figyelő, Mária Schmidt’s daily paper, tried to make “an organized operation” out of the clash between Croatian police and about 150 refugees. Who is behind it? According to the head of the Croatian border police, the culprits are the “Serbian and Bosnian migration centers.” The article calls attention to guide books prepared for the migrants by the Soros organizations in 2015. By making a reference to the Soros organizations’ activities three years ago, the article strongly suggests that these people are still working to help the refugees stranded in Bosnia get across the border to Croatia.

    While I was gathering material pertinent to this post, I couldn’t help comparing the story about the alleged 70,000 migrants heading toward Hungary to the frenzy Donald Trump has whipped up about the Honduran caravan. The caravan is still 1,500 miles from the United States border, and the refugees have an arduous journey ahead of them on foot. Yet the caravan is being described by the president as an imminent “assault on our country.” He keeps talking about criminals, gangsters, Middle Eastern terrorists in the crowd without any proof. He has hinted that the entire spectacle was funded by the Democrats, and he vows to send troops to the border while his supporters cheer. A Republican congressman insinuated that George Soros is financing the exodus. The story gets bigger and bigger with every passing moment in order to create fear and hatred–and, of course, to garner votes ahead of the mid-term elections. As we have seen in the last two days, verbal incitement can easily be translated into action, especially if it is the president who is inflaming passions. Right-wing populists like Donald Trump and Viktor Orbán are playing with fire when they unleash hatred and mislead their followers, creating an alternate reality.

    http://hungarianspectrum.org/2018/10/27/reinforcement-of-the-southern-borders-because-of-nonexistent-migr
    #militarisation_des_frontières #hongrie #frontières #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Croatie


  • Operation Sophia: new training module in Italy

    A Training “Package 2” module in favour of Libyan Coastguard and Navy started in #La_Maddalena (Italy) on October the 8.

    In the wide framework of Libyan Coastguard and Navy training carried out by SOPHIA operation, a new module, composed by “#Deck_Officer_Course” and “#Maintainer_Course” and in favour of 69 trainees, was launched in the Italian Navy Training Centre in LA MADDALENA (Italy) last 8th of October.

    The end of the course is scheduled for next 30th of November 2018.

    The course, hosted by the Italian Navy, will last 8 weeks, and it will provide knowledge and training in relation to the general activity on board an off shore patrol vessel and lessons focused on Human Rights, Basic First Aid, Gender Policy and Basic English language.

    Additionally, with the positive conclusion of these two courses, the threshold of 305 Libyan Coastguard and Navy personnel trained by EUNAVFOR Med will be reached.

    Moreover, further training modules are planned in Croatia and other EU member states in favour of a huge number of trainees.

    From October 2016, SOPHIA is fully involved in the training of the Libyan Coastguard and Navy; the aim of the training is to improve security of the Libyan territorial waters and the Libyan Coastguard and Navy ability to perform the duties in their territorial waters, with a strong focus on respect of human rights, including minors and women’s rights, and the correct handling of migrants in occasion of search and rescue activities to save lives at sea.


    https://www.operationsophia.eu/operation-sophia-new-training-module-in-italy
    #Opération_sophia #Italie #Libye #frontières #contrôles_frontaliers #cours #formation

    • EU rift widens on migrants, Sophia Op extended for 3 months

      The EU’s Political and Security Committee has approved a three-month extension for Operation Sophia, the bloc’s mission against human trafficking in the Mediterranean Sea whose mandate was set to expire on December 31. But there are still many issues regarding border protection and migration that the 28 EU countries disagree on.

      The decision to extend Operation Sophia came on the second day of the EU summit held in Brussels on December 13 and 14. Though migration was not even the central topic of the summit (Brexit was), it ended up being the cause of friction once again with many losing their patience altogether.

      At the end of the summit, European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker criticized what he viewed as the hypocrisy of those calling for more secure borders but who are blocking Frontex reform at the same time.

      He also accused some European leaders of spreading false news, such as Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban.

      Divisions in the EU

      Even Belgium, which on the Global Compact issue has lost part of the government, called for those blocking the reform of the Dublin Rules on asylum to be removed from the Schengen zone. It also asked Brussels for an investigation into misinformation spread on social media on the UN agreement.

      Despite six months of negotiations, the 28-member bloc is still divided on Operation Sophia. The EU mission in the Mediterranean was due to expire at the end of this month, but has received a three-month extension in a last-minute attempt to achieve an agreement at the beginning of the year to review the rules of engagement and the distribution of migrants taken to Italian ports.

      Faced with EU conclusions that are even vaguer than usual, in which there are no expiration dates for the Dublin reform nor for the Frontex one, Juncker said that he was losing his patience.

      He said that though ’’everyone says they want better protection of external borders’’, a proposal on the table for a 10,000-strong EU border guard agency had been refused by those claiming to be the most interested in border control - among them are Hungary and Italy, who oppose the measure for reasons of national sovereignty.
      Juncker rails against governments supporting fake news

      Some heads of state and governments were also spreading fake news on issues ranging from migrants to Brexit, Juncker said, such as ’’when Orban says I am responsible’’ for Brexit or that migrants were.

      The countdown for Visegrad countries - meaning the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia - who do not want to accept migrants could come soon, said Belgian prime minister Charles Michel. There is ’’ever more agreement’’ among EU states to remove those blocking Dublin reform from the Schengen zone, he said. Michel asked the European Commission to open an investigation into ’’manipulated information’’ on the Global Compact circulated online with a deliberate desire to destabilize EU democracies.

      http://www.infomigrants.net/en/post/13971/eu-rift-widens-on-migrants-sophia-op-extended-for-3-months?ref=tw


  • Trentino and Yugoslavia narrated through a legend: roots of Marshal Josip Broz #Tito in #Vallarsa

    In Trentino there is a valley where the surname Broz is widely diffused. During the second half of the 20th century, a peculiar legend took shape among these mountains. We are in Vallarsa, a few kilometers from the town of Rovereto, where – according to many locals – the origins of Josip Broz, that history will remember as Tito, are to be found. The Yugoslav Marshal was one of the most peculiar and controversial figures of the 20th century: Partisan leader, head of the communist state that split with the Soviet Union, a prominent figure on the international political scene and, above all, leader and symbol of a country that disintegrated violently shortly after his death. The relationship between Marshal Tito and the Vallarsa Valley is being talked about for some time, and not only in Trentino, so that the page dedicated to Tito on the Italian Wikipedia refers to him as “the seventh of fifteen children of Franjo, a Croat who probably originated from Vallarsa”.
    A legend from Obra

    The story originates in the area around the village of Obra, in the Vallarsa Valley, where there is a small settlement called Brozzi. It is said that the Broz surname has been present in the area for centuries. Transmitted orally, the legend spread and evolved over time, assuming different shapes and contours. There is however a version which is more or less codified. It is narrated that a family of the future Yugoslav president lived in a place called Maso Geche, a bit isolated from Obra and nearby settlements. Valentino Broz, “Tito’s grandfather”, took over an old house, transforming it in a family cottage. Valentino had four children. One of them died at a tender age, while Ferdinando, Giuseppe and Vigilio started contributing to the household by working in the fields and as lumberjacks, integrating these activities, as much as possible, with other occasional jobs. Just like for all the other families in that area, emigration was always an option.

    Parochial registers confirm the structure of Valentino Broz’s family. What we learn from memories passed down through the generations is that Giuseppe (according to archives, Giuseppe Filippo Broz, born on August 29, 1853) and Ferdinando (Luigi Ferdinando Broz, born on April 13, 1848) – or, according to other versions of the story, Vigilio (Vigilio Andrea Broz, born on November 27, 1843) – emigrated from Vallarsa to Croatia between the 1870s and the 1880s, most probably in 1878 or 1879. At that time, both territories were part of Austria-Hungary, and in those years many people from Trentino emigrated in the eastern parts of the monarchy. The story of foundation of the village of Štivor, in Bosnia Herzegovina, is probably the best known. According to legend, the Broz brothers were driven to emigrate by the possibility of being engaged in the construction of railway Vienna-Zagreb-Belgrade. Indeed, in those years a new railway line, connecting Bosanski Brod to Sarajevo, was under construction. The first portion was completed in February 1879, and the last one in October 1882.

    Some time later, Ferdinando (or Vigilio) returned to Vallarsa, while Giuseppe married a Slovenian girl, and in 1892 they gave birth to Josip Broz, who became known to the whole world as Tito. The news about Giuseppes’s fate reached the valley, mainly thanks to the information his brother brought home.
    Tito between history and conspiracy

    The legend from Vallarsa is not an isolated case. Since the end of the Second World War in Yugoslavia, but not only, speculations began circulating that Tito might have (had) Russian, Polish, Austrian or Jewish roots. His life, marked from a young age by participation in illegal activities of the Communist Party, sudden movings and use of false names, offered an ideal breeding ground for speculations and conspiracy theories. The doubts about Tito’s true identity, particularly diffused during the 1990s, recently have been reactualized due to publication of declassified CIA document that puts in doubt Tito’s knowledge of the Serbo-Croatian language.

    Apart from dozens of newspaper articles and many publicistic texts, the question of Tito’s origins has never been the subject of proper historiographic research. None of the scholars who seriously occupy themselves with history of Yugoslavia has ever shown any particular interest in this issue. Even the most recent Tito’s biographies, written by world-renowned historians such as Geoffrey Swain and Jože Pirjevec, don’t contain any reference to different theories about his origins, only a traditional version whereby Tito was the son of Franjo Broz, a Croat from Kumrovec in Zagorje, and Marija Javeršek, originally from village of Podreda, in Slovenia. The only partial exception is represented by considerations made by Vladimir Dedijer in his monumental biography of Tito, published in 1981. A former member of the League of Communists of Yugoslavia, sacked at the time of the Affaire Djilas, becoming a professional historian, in his book Dedijer attempts to refute speculations about Tito’s origins, reinvigorated after his death in May 1980.
    The birth and life of a legend

    In attempting to clarify the question, Vladimir Dedijer also makes reference to the Trentine case which, few months earlier, has been reactualized in Italy in an article appeared in the weekly Gente. The article has been published few days after Tito’s death, relying on a story transmitted orally over the years, according to some since the end of the Second World War, when the name of Josip Broz began to appear in the newspapers around the world. In addition to photos of the Vallarsa Valley and Maso Geche, the article contained statements of descendants of the family of Valentino Broz. Don Giuseppe Rippa, the then parson of Vallarsa, played an important role in defining the contours of the story, contributing to a process of consolidation of its credibility.

    It is possible that Vladimir Dedijer has come to know about the Trentin legend thanks to attention given to it in the newspapers of the Italian minority in Yugoslavia. Shortly after the publication of the above mentioned article on the weekly Gente, the weekly newspaper Panorama from Rijeka started showing interest in the story, sending a crew to Vallarsa to find out more details. After talking to Don Rippa and some other local personalities, such as writer Sandra Frizzera, and studying parish registers, journalists from Rijeka have come to a conclusion that there was no evidence of a relationship between Trentin and Yugoslav Brozes. Vladimir Dedijer reacted by publishing Tito’s family tree, compiled by Andrija Lukinović, archivist from the Historical Archive of Zagreb [now called the Croatian State Archive], on the basis of preserved parish registers. Using available data, Lukinović reconstructed the paternal-line geneaology of the Broz family from the beginning of the 17th century, when parish registers were started in Kumrovec. As far as the previous period is concerned, Dedijer remains cautious, nevertheless quoting different sayings whereby the Broz family originated in Bosnia, Herzegovina, Spain, Istria, France or even Italy. In any case, we are talking about the possible settlement in Zagorje more than four centuries ago.

    However, these information have not reached Trentino, where a word began to spread that in the whole Yugoslavia there have been no trace of the Broz surname. The descendents of the family of Valentino Broz continued releasing interviews, telling family stories and anecdotes. Also, it is narrated that representatives of Yugoslav government came to Obra, maybe even Tito himself. Many newspaper articles and reportage talked about physiognomic proximity, claiming that the Trentin Brozes bore a “remarkable resemblance” to Yugoslav leader.

    In 1984 it was decided to create a commission, as part of “The Popular Committee of Obra di Vallarsa”, composed of historians, journalists and the then major, with the aim of clarifying the question through meticulous researches and investigations. However, no definite answer nor concrete evidence has been reached. Did Tito have Trentin origins or not? Over the years, the same information continued to circulate, but the story became gradually consolidated.

    In the same period, the credibility of the story has been publicly recognized by some prominent personalities, such as politician Flaminio Piccoli, who has stated, on the occasion of a congress held in Rome in 1991, that Tito’s ancestors were from Trentino. Representative of the Italian Christian Democratic party (DC) in Trentino at the time, Piccoli asserted that he had “great respect” for Marshal Tito, because “his great grandfather was Trentin, originally from the region around Rovereto”. The story changes again – it was not Tito’s father, but rather his great grandfather who was from Trentino – but it is told by a prominent politician who met Tito personally.

    What also contributed to building credibility of the story were numerous publications dedicated to emigration from Trentino, an issue that, since the 1980s, has attracted increasing interest. Already in 1984, Bonifacio Bolognani – Franciscan friar and scholar originally from Trentino who moved to the United States – mentioned a legend from Obra in his book about emigration from Trentino, published in English. The local writers and historians are those who paid greatest attention to the story: Daniella Stoffella refers to it in her book about emigration from Vallarsa, while Renzo Grosselli mentions it in a study about emigrants from Trentino which is widely read. Remo Bussolon and Aldina Martini revived it in the most important work about the history of Vallarsa. The theory of Tito’s Trentin origins is also being mentioned in different academic essays published in other countries (Frédéric Spagnoli, 2009). We are talking about more or less precise publications, some of which treat the argument with caution, but that, often citing each other, contribute to strengthening the authoritativness of the legend.

    In the meantime, a local section of RAI [Italian public radio and television broadcaster] started to show an interest in the story, relaunching it periodically through tv reports. In 2008, a special program was dedicated to the legend of Obra, and on that occasion journalists from Trentino went to Croatia for the first time to hear the other side of the story. They went to Kumrovec, where they visited the birth house of Yugoslav leader and studied parish registers, trying to learn more about the history of Tito’s family and about his “Croatian father” Franjo Broz. But the question remained: Is it possible that Marija’s marriage with Franjo was her second wedding? Or rather, did she married Franjo after she gave birth to Tito and after Giuseppe Broz died?

    In the summer of 2015, a visit of Tito’s granddaughter Svetlana Broz to Vallarsa, invited to a culture festival to present her book about the Yugoslav wars, becomes the occasion to discuss the issue. Asked during an interview to comment on the theory about Tito’s Trentin roots, Svetlana Broz responded vaguely and compliantly, saying: “That theory is just a theory. I have documentation that proves that my grandfather was born in the Croatian village of Kumrovec, as stated in his official biography. However, I can neither confirm nor deny anything about his ancestors”. In such ambivalent spaces, the legend from Vallarsa continues to live. Narrated and repeated mostly in Trentino, from time to time it arouses the interest of a wider public.
    A story about Trentino and Yugoslavia

    Of all the legends about the origins of the Yugoslav president, the Trentin one is probably most closely related to the history and identity of a local community, unlike the others, often inspired by different conspiracy ideas. It evocates the history of the territory profoundly marked by the migration phenomenon and is paradigmatic of a broader history of emigration from Trentino at the end of the 19th century and of pervasiveness of collective memories in those valleys. Its diffusion beyond the borders of Vallarsa, began in the 1980s, followed a gradual opening-up of Trentino to the international processes and reinforcement of consciousness about its “place in the world”. Above all, it is an integral part of the process of ri-elaboration of the traumatic experience of migration which profoundly marked local community: discovery of illustrious ancestors can help in making a sense of loss.

    At the same time, this legend makes us think about the image socialist Yugoslavia projected abroad, about its perception in Italy and among inhabitants of one of the most remote valleys of Trentino. Considered a hostile country in the post-war period, over the following decades Yugoslavia was increasingly perceived by the Italian public as a close neighbor, so that relationships with the political leadership of socialist country were considered a question of public interest. It is narrated that inhabitants of the Vallarsa Valley had been deeply moved by Tito’s death in May 1980 and that a local parson “had recited the prayer for Josip Broz”. A few years later, when asked for his opinion about Marshal Tito, an inhabitant of the valley pointed out a change of perception: “There is no way to reconcile obscure and bloody events from his early years, ambition, will to power, sectarianism and violence of the first Tito with wise and prudent politician, magnanimous towards his enemies, which was the second Tito”.

    The Trentin roots of Yugoslav Marshal remain a legend. In all those years, no proof has emerged that confirms that Giuseppe Broz, who probably emigrated to Croatia and Bosnia in search of work, was Tito’s real father. On the other hand, the official version of Tito’s biography remains undisputed. But like all legends, regardless of their adherence to reality, the one about “Trentin” Tito immerse us in perceptions, imaginings and memories deposited at the intersection of personal life stories, local vicissitudes and the Great History.


    https://www.balcanicaucaso.org/eng/Areas/Italy/Tito-and-Vallarsa-The-history-of-a-legend-190146

    #histoire #légende #Trentino #Italie #ex-Yougoslavie #Yougoslavie #Obra

    #vidéo:
    https://www.balcanicaucaso.org/eng/Media/Multimedia/Marshal-Tito-and-Vallarsa
    #film

    ping @albertocampiphoto @wizo —> articolo disponibile anche in italiano: https://www.balcanicaucaso.org/aree/Italia/Compa-esano-Tito!-Storia-di-una-leggenda-190146


  • Trump’s Absurd New Conspiracy Theory: Sexual Assault Survivors Protesting Kavanaugh Are ’Paid Professionals’ Working for Soros | Alternet
    https://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/donald-trump-brett-kavanaugh-protestors-george-soros?src=newsletter1096830

    As if the treatment of the protestors could be any less dignified, President Donald Trump attacked them on Friday with a bizarre conspiracy theory:

    The very rude elevator screamers are paid professionals only looking to make Senators look bad. Don’t fall for it! Also, look at all of the professionally made identical signs. Paid for by Soros and others. These are not signs made in the basement from love!

    — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 5, 2018

    Trump is claiming, with zero evidence, that because the protests had some professional organization, like mass-produced signs, the protestors are “paid professionals” in the employ of George Soros, the Hungarian-born Jewish billionaire philanthropist and Holocaust survivor who sits at the core of many right-wing conspiracy theories.

    The idea that anti-Trump protestors are paid off by his political enemies is a recurring claim by the president, who previously advocated investigating the 2017 Tax March protestors to determine whether they were paid.

    However, this marks the first time Trump has explicitly mentioned Soros by name on Twitter — a move that could well fan the flames of conspiracy among the far right.

    #Conspirationnisme #Folie #Trump #Soros


  • The Suffocation of Democracy | Christopher R. Browning
    https://www.nybooks.com/articles/2018/10/25/suffocation-of-democracy

    The most original revelation of the current wave of authoritarians is that the construction of overtly antidemocratic dictatorships aspiring to totalitarianism is unnecessary for holding power. Perhaps the most apt designation of this new authoritarianism is the insidious term “illiberal democracy.” Recep Tayyip Erdoğan in Turkey, Putin in Russia, Rodrigo Duterte in the Philippines, and Viktor Orbán in Hungary Source: The New York Review of Books


  • V’la t’y pas que l’Ukraine part en morceau par l’autre bout : #Ruthénie_transcarpatique ou #Ruthénie_subcarpathique
    (avec ou sans h, sub ou trans selon votre position par rapport aux Carpathes) #Moukatchevo / #Moukatcheve / #Munkács
    (accord de Munich, 1938 et, surtout, leur violation impunément en mars 1939…)

    UAWire - Ukrainian Foreign Minister warns of Russian hybrid threat in #Transcarpathia
    https://www.uawire.org/klimkin-warned-of-a-russian-hybrid-threat-in-transcarpathia

    Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin stated in an interview with Radio NV that Transcarpathia is a high-risk region in terms of hybrid threats from neighboring countries. “I believe that Transcarpathia is a high-risk region in terms of hybrid methods. We must invest in it [to counter hybrid threats], otherwise we will create a situation that will cost us more,” said Klimkin.

    The Minister of Foreign Affairs emphasized that it was necessary to resolutely develop the appropriate policy for dealing with national minorities in Transcarpathia. He added that this was an important task that should be done in other regions of Ukraine with national minorities because Russia could exploit them.

    There are other regions where we have national minorities: Romanian, Bulgarian. We understand very well how Russia works with the Romanian and Bulgarian minorities. It can and will improve in applying hybrid methods. Every region needs a consistent and clear policy,” said Klimkin.

    • Il semblerait que ce discours accompagne des actions policières intenses après le jet de grenade dans la cour d’une conseillère municipale de Vinogradov / Vynohradiv.

      In Transcarpathia in the yard of the Deputy threw a grenade media – Ukrop News 24
      https://ukropnews24.com/in-transcarpathia-in-the-yard-of-the-deputy-threw-a-grenade-media

      In the night of Saturday, September 22, in the yard of the Deputy Vinogradov, Transcarpathian region ELISA Seda threw the grenade. About it reports a local site of sevliush info with reference to the Deputy.

      It is noted that a grenade was thrown by an unknown man at 4 in the morning.

      Now at the scene working police officers headed by chief of the regional police and the bomb squad.

      According to the Deputy, the grenade could throw for her citizenship, or messages in social networks, where she criticized local and regional authorities.

    • Le député local, Viktor Baloha de l’oblast de Transcarpatie, ancien gouverneur et ancien maire de Moukatchevo appelle à la démission de P. Klimkin et décrit une région abandonnée et en proie aux trafics.

      Pour corser l’affaire, le consul hongrois de Beregovo distribuerait libéralement – avec consignes de discrétion – des passeports hongrois.

      Enfin, on rappellera qu’#Oujgorod / #Oujhorod est un nœud crucial du réseau de #gazoducs d’Europe orientale…

      In the Parliament proposed to dismiss Klimkin for the words of Transcarpathia – Russia news today
      https://chelorg.com/2018/09/22/in-the-parliament-proposed-to-dismiss-klimkin-for-the-words-of-transcarpath

      Balogh noted that «the appropriate people» associated with the Carpathians, the European life-style, dozens of companies, working for export, as well as sanatoriums and mineral water. As for the authorities, they, in his opinion, talk about the region «as a hole».

      «And it says the power that for 2 years and are unable to restore the #Uzhgorod airport. Which is not repairing roads. Put the contraband on stream. Which merged with the bandits and knocks the Transcarpathian forest. Will not allow anyone to offend the Carpathians! Let Klimkin at least agree with the Slovaks about the renew of work of our airport, and then let says, what did we do to him», — said the MP.

      Earlier it became known that the Consulate of Hungary in Beregovo, Transcarpathian region issues living in the region Ukrainians passports of their country. It was reported that the documents were accompanied by recommendations not to notify the authorities of Ukraine. Pavlo Klimkin called Consul of Hungary «cog in this whole diplomatic structure» and promised to expel him from the country.

    • Le site #Myrotvorets qui se consacre à la chasse des ennemis de l’Ukraine publie les données personnelles des bénéficiaires des passeports hongrois distribués…
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myrotvorets

      #Tout_va_bien

      The Terroristic « Mirotvorets » Website Started to Pursue the Owners of Hungarian Passports in Transcarpathia • СТАЛКЕР/ZONE
      http://www.stalkerzone.org/the-terroristic-mirotvorets-website-started-to-pursue-the-owners-of-hun

      After the scandal with the issuance of Hungarian passports [by the Hungarian embassy – ed] to Transcarpathia, Ukrainians who obtained Hungarian citizenship are now being entered into the database of the scandalous “#Mirotvorets“ website. This was reported on Facebook by “°Myrotvorets News°”.

      The first five violators of the Constitution and Law of Ukraine on nationality has been recorded in Purgatory. All data about the specified citizens of Ukraine having illegal Hungarian citizenship is confirmed,” it is said in the message.

      The website also published the names of these people, along with their photograph.

    • Peter Szijjarto, ministre des Affaires étrangères hongrois affirme que la délivrance des passeports par le consul de Beregovo était parfaitement légale et dénonce l’utilisation d’une caméra cachée. L’affaire est suivie de près par les voisins roumains…

      Szijjarto : Ceremonia de depunere a jurământului la Consulatul din Beregovo a fost desfășurată în mod legal | Libertatea Cuvântului (Cernăuți)
      http://lyberti.com/szijjarto-ceremonia-de-depunere-a-juramantului-a-fost-desfasurata-in-mod-le

      Szijjarto: Ceremonia de depunere a jurământului la Consulatul din Beregovo a fost desfășurată în mod legal

    • Government - Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade - News
      http://www.kormany.hu/en/ministry-of-foreign-affairs-and-trade/news/europe-and-the-world-must-take-action-against-the-security-risks-posed-by-th

      “A totally new world order is in development, and this is bringing with it new security risks, against which Europe and indeed the whole world must take action”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó declared in Monday in New York with relation to the fact that a separate meeting will be held on this issue during the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly, which is being held this week.

      At the world peace summit named after anti-Apartheid fighter and former South African President Nelson Mandela, we must identify the factors that represent the greatest danger to world peace and security”, the Minister said at the press conference.

      He explained that there are three such factors relating to Europe: one is illegal migration, with relation to which a particular risk is posed by the fact that “Europe is still incapable of speaking honestly and clearly, and of making it clear that Europe can only be entered legally”.

      The other is action against minorities, from which Hungary is also suffering in view of the fact that Hungarians in Transcarpathia are being systematically intimidated and the Ukrainian state wants to take away the rights of the Hungarian minority. “_The approach according to which national minorities are not viewed as a resource, but as a potential source of conflict, exists all over the world”, Mr, Szijjártó added.

      The Minister cited religious persecution as the third security risk, and said it is particularly sad that Christianity has become the world’s most persecuted religion.

      note : je poste ici à cause de la référence faite aux persécutions de la minorité hongroise en Ukraine occidentale (pour l’instant, les (micro) événements passent complètement sous le radar de la presse occidentale) ; le premier point et la partition qu’y joue la Hongrie est nettement plus visible.
      @cdb_77

    • Présentation des faits par le Visegrád Post, partenaire de TV Libertés, bien marquée à l’extrême-droite. L’article reprend d’ailleurs l’intégralité du «  trombinoscope  » des 5 bénéficiaires de passeport hongrois, tel que publié par le site terroriste d’extrême-droite ukrainien.

      Nouvelles tensions entre la Hongrie et l’Ukraine et menaces sur la minorité hongroise de Subcarpatie | Visegrád Post
      https://visegradpost.com/fr/2018/09/24/nouvelles-tensions-entre-la-hongrie-et-lukraine-et-menaces-sur-la-mino

      Ukraine – Menaces d’expulsion du consul de Hongrie de Berehove (Ukraine) et nouvelles tensions diplomatiques entre Budapest et Kiev.

      Les tensions diplomatiques entre Budapest et Kiev sont récurrentes depuis septembre 2017, lorsque les autorités ukrainiennes ont entrepris de mener une réforme du système éducatif visant à supprimer toutes les langues minoritaires (russe en premier lieu, mais aussi polonais, roumain, hongrois ou bulgare). Cela avait amené la Hongrie a opposer son véto à la présence de l’Ukraine lors d’un sommet de l’OTAN pour protester contre les conséquences de cette loi pour la minorité hongroise de Subcarpatie. L’incendie en février 2018 du centre culturel hongrois d’Oujhorod (en hongrois : Ungvár) avait également ravivé ces tensions.

      Ce vendredi 21 septembre 2018, le ministre des Affaires étrangères ukrainien Pavlo Klimkin a déclaré que l’Ukraine était prête à expulser le Consul de Hongrie en poste à Berehove (en hongrois : Beregszász) si Budapest ne le rappelait pas.

      Cette déclaration fait suite à une vidéo dans laquelle des Hongrois d’Ukraine participent à une courte cérémonie durant laquelle il se voient attribuer la citoyenneté hongroise. À la fin de cette vidéo, on peut entendre une personne signaler qu’il ne faut pas utiliser le passeport hongrois à la frontière ukrainienne, mais uniquement le passeport ukrainien.

    • Tiens, la République tchèque se souvient que la Transcarpathie était tchécoslovaque avant 1944 (en droit, au moins, parce que depuis 1939, elle ne l’était plus de fait) et pourrait se mettre à son tour à délivrer des passeports tchèques. D’après le gouverneur de la région de Transcarpathie qui déclare, par ailleurs, que la Hongrie « n’accorde » pas la nationalité, mais la « restitue »…

      Ще одна країна ЄС може почати видачу своїх паспортів українцям на Закарпатті - 24 Канал
      https://24tv.ua/shhe_odna_krayina_yes_mozhe_pochati_vidachu_svoyih_pasportiv_ukrayintsyam_na_za

      Услід за отриманням українцями угорських паспортів на Закарпатті може виникнути нова проблема. Так, Чехія також розглядає питання надання громадянства жителям регіону.

      Про це заявив голова Закарпатської ОДА Геннадій Москаль в ефірі « 112 Каналу ».

      Чиновник нагадав, що до 1944 року територія Закарпаття входила у склад спершу Чехословаччини, а потім Угорщини.

      Він зазначив, що після приходу радянської влади багато жителів регіону зберегли чехословацькі й угорські паспорти.

      Окрім того, на його думку, та ж Угорщина не « надає » своє громадянство, а « повертає » його етнічним угорцям за спадковою ознакою.


  • America’s Jews are watching Israel in horror
    The Washington Post - By Dana Milbank - September 21 at 7:25 PM

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/israel-is-driving-jewish-america-farther-and-farther-away/2018/09/21/de2716f8-bdbb-11e8-8792-78719177250f_story.html

    My rabbi, Danny Zemel, comes from Zionist royalty: His grandfather, Rabbi Solomon Goldman, led the Zionist Organization of America in the late 1930s, and presided over the World Zionist Convention in Zurich in 1939. So Zemel’s words carried weight when he told his flock this week on Kol Nidre, the holiest night of the Jewish year, that “the current government of Israel has turned its back on Zionism.”

    “My love for Israel has not diminished one iota,” he said, but “this is, to my way of thinking, Israel’s first anti-Zionist government.”

    He recounted Israel’s transformation under Benjamin Netanyahu: the rise of ultranationalism tied to religious extremism, the upsurge in settler violence, the overriding of Supreme Court rulings upholding democracy and human rights, a crackdown on dissent, harassment of critics and nonprofits, confiscation of Arab villages and alliances with regimes — in Poland, Hungary and the Philippines — that foment anti-Semitism. The prime minister’s joint declaration in June absolving Poland of Holocaust culpability, which amounted to trading Holocaust denial for good relations, earned a rebuke from Yad Vashem, Israel’s Holocaust memorial.

    “The current government in Israel has, like Esau, sold its birthright,” Zemel preached.

    Similarly anguished sentiments can be heard in synagogues and in Jewish homes throughout America. For 70 years, Israel survived in no small part because of American Jews’ support. Now we watch in horror as Netanyahu, with President Trump’s encouragement, leads Israel on a path to estrangement and destruction.

    Both men have gravely miscalculated. Trump seems to think support for Netanyahu will appeal to American Jews otherwise appalled by his treatment of immigrants and minorities. (Trump observed Rosh Hashanah last week by ordering the Palestinian office in Washington closed, another gratuitous blow to the moribund two-state solution that a majority of American Jews favor.) But his green light to extremism does the opposite.

    Netanyahu, for his part, is dissolving America’s bipartisan pro-Israel consensus in favor of an unstable alliance of end-times Christians, orthodox Jews and wealthy conservatives such as Sheldon Adelson.

    The two have achieved Trump’s usual result: division. They have split American Jews from Israelis, and America’s minority of politically conservative Jews from the rest of American Jews.

    A poll for the American Jewish Committee in June found that while 77 percent of Israeli Jews approve of Trump’s handling of the U.S.-Israeli relationship, only 34 percent of American Jews approve. Although Trump is popular in Israel, only 26 percent of American Jews approve of him. Most Jews feel less secure in the United States than they did a year ago. (No wonder, given the sharp rise in anti-Semitic incidents and high-level winks at anti-Semitism, from Charlottesville to Eric Trump’s recent claim that Trump critics are trying to “make three extra shekels.”) The AJC poll was done a month before Israel passed a law to give Jews more rights than other citizens, betraying the country’s 70-year democratic tradition.

    “We are the stunned witnesses of new alliances between Israel, Orthodox factions of Judaism throughout the world, and the new global populism in which ethnocentrism and even racism hold an undeniable place,” Hebrew University of Jerusalem sociologist Eva Illouz wrote in an article appearing this week on Yom Kippur in Israel’s Haaretz newspaper titled “The State of Israel vs. the Jewish people.” (...)


  • The State of Israel vs. the Jewish people -
    Israel has aligned itself with one nationalist, even anti-Semitic, regime after another. Where does that leave world Jewry?
    By Eva Illouz Sep 13, 2018
    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium.MAGAZINE-the-state-of-israel-vs-the-jewish-people-1.6470108

    Orban, left, and Netanyahu, in Jerusalem in July 2018. DEBBIE HILL / AFP

    An earthquake is quietly rocking the Jewish world.

    In the 18th century, Jews began playing a decisive role in the promotion of universalism, because universalism promised them redemption from their political subjection. Through universalism, Jews could, in principle, be free and equal to those who had dominated them. This is why, in the centuries that followed, Jews participated in disproportionate numbers in communist and socialist causes. This is also why Jews were model citizens of countries, such as France or the United States, with universalist constitutions.

    The history of Jews as promoters of Enlightenment and universalist values, however, is drawing to a close. We are the stunned witnesses of new alliances between Israel, Orthodox factions of Judaism throughout the world, and the new global populism in which ethnocentrism and even racism hold an undeniable place.

    When Prime Minister Netanyahu chose to align himself politically with Donald Trump before and after the U.S. presidential election of 2016, some people could still give him the benefit of doubt. Admittedly, Trump was surrounded by people like Steve Bannon, the former head of Breitbart News, who reeked of racism and anti-Semitism, but no one was sure of the direction the new presidency would take. Even if Trump refused to condemn the anti-Semitic elements of his electoral base or the Ku Klux Klan, which had enthusiastically backed him, and even if it took him a long time to dissociate himself from David Duke – we were not yet certain of the presence of anti-Semitism in Trump’s discourse and strategies (especially since his daughter Ivanka was a convert to Judaism).

    But the events in Charlottesville in August 2017 no longer allowed for doubt. The neo-Nazi demonstrators committed violent acts against peaceful counter-protesters, killing one woman by plowing through a crowd with a car (an act reminiscent in its technique of terrorist attacks in Europe). Trump reacted to the events by condemning both the neo-Nazis and white supremacists and their opponents. The world was shocked by his conflation of the two groups, but Jerusalem did not object. Once again, the indulgent (or cynical) observer could have interpreted this silence as the reluctant obeisance of a vassal toward his overlord (of all the countries in the world, Israel receives the most military aid from the United States). One was entitled to think that Israel had no choice but to collaborate, despite the American leader’s outward signs of anti-Semitism.

    This interpretation, however, is no longer tenable. Before and since Charlottesville, Netanyahu has courted other leaders who are either unbothered by anti-Semitism or straightforwardly sympathetic to it, and upon whom Israel is not economically dependent. His concessions go as far as participating in a partial form of Holocaust denial.

    Take the case of Hungary. Under the government of Viktor Orban, the country shows troubling signs of legitimizing anti-Semitism. In 2015, for example, the Hungarian government announced its intention to erect a statue to commemorate Balint Homan, a Holocaust-era minister who played a decisive role in the murder or deportation of nearly 600,000 Hungarian Jews. Far from being an isolated incident, just a few months later, in 2016, another statue was erected in tribute to Gyorgy Donáth, one of the architects of anti-Jewish legislation during World War II. It was thus unsurprising to hear Orban employing anti-Semitic tropes during his reelection campaign in 2017, especially against Georges Soros, the Jewish, Hungarian-American billionaire-philanthropist who supports liberal causes, including that of open borders and immigration. Reanimating the anti-Semitic cliché about the power of Jews, Orban accused Soros of harboring intentions to undermine Hungary.

    Whom did Netanyahu choose to support? Not the anxious Hungarian Jewish community that protested bitterly against the anti-Semitic rhetoric of Orban’s government; nor did he choose to support the liberal Jew Soros, who defends humanitarian causes. Instead, the prime minister created new fault lines, preferring political allies to members of the tribe. He backed Orban, the same person who resurrects the memory of dark anti-Semites. When the Israeli ambassador in Budapest protested the erection of the infamous statue, he was publicly contradicted by none other than Netanyahu.

    To my knowledge, the Israeli government has never officially protested Orban’s anti-Semitic inclinations and affinities. In fact, when the Israeli ambassador in Budapest did try to do so, he was quieted down by Jerusalem. Not long before the Hungarian election, Netanyahu went to the trouble of visiting Hungary, thus giving a “kosher certificate” to Orban and exonerating him of the opprobrium attached to anti-Semitism and to an endorsement of figures active in the Shoah. When Netanyahu visited Budapest, he was given a glacial reception by the Federation of the Jewish Communities, while Orban gave him a warm welcome. To further reinforce their touching friendship, Netanyahu invited Orban to pay a reciprocal visit to Israel this past July, receiving him in a way usually reserved for the most devoted national allies.

    The relationship with Poland is just as puzzling. As a reminder, Poland is governed by the nationalist Law and Justice party, which has an uncompromising policy against refugees and appears to want to eliminate the independence of the courts by means of a series of reforms that would allow the government to control the judiciary branch. In 2016 the Law and Justice-led government eliminated the official body whose mission was to deal with problems of racial discrimination, xenophobia and intolerance, arguing that the organization had become “useless.”

    An illustration depicting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shaking hands with Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki in Auschwitz. Eran Wolkowski

    Encouraged by this and other governmental declarations and policies, signs of nationalism multiplied within Polish society. In February 2018, president Andrzej Duda declared that he would sign a law making it illegal to accuse the Polish nation of having collaborated with the Nazis. Accusing Poland of collusion in the Holocaust and other Nazi atrocities would be from now prosecutable. Israel initially protested the proposed legislation, but then in June, Benjamin Netanyahu and the Polish prime minister, Mateusz Morawiecki, signed an agreement exonerating Poland of any and all crimes against the Jews during the time of the German occupation. Israel also acceded to Poland’s move to outlaw the expression “Polish concentration camp.” Moreover, Netanyahu even signed a statement stipulating that anti-Semitism is identical to anti-Polonism, and that only a handful of sad Polish individuals were responsible for persecuting Jews – not the nation as a whole.

    A billboard displaying George Soros urges Hungarians to take part in a national consultation about what it calls a plan by the Hungarian-born financier to settle migrants in Europe, in Budapest. ATTILA KISBENEDEK / AFP

    Like the American, Hungarian and Polish alt-right, Israel wants to restore national pride unstained by “self-hating” critics. Like the Poles, for two decades now, Israel has been waging a war over the official narrative of the nation, trying to expunge school textbooks of inconvenient facts (such as the fact that Arabs were actively chased out of Israel in 1948). In order to quash criticism, Israel’s Culture Ministry now predicates funding to creative institutions on loyalty to the state. As in Hungary, the Israeli government persecutes NGOs like Breaking the Silence, a group whose only sin has been to give soldiers a forum for reporting their army experiences and to oppose Israeli settlers’ violence against Palestinians or the expropriation of land, in violation of international law. Purging critics from public life (as expressed in barring the entry into the country of BDS supporters, denying funding to theater companies or films critical of Israel, etc.) is an expression of direct state power.

    When it comes to refugees, Israel, like Hungary and Poland, refuses to comply with international law. For almost a decade now, Israel has not respected international conventions on the rights of refugees even though it is a signatory of said conventions: The state has detained refugees in camps, and imprisoned and deported them. Like Poland, Israel is trying to do away with the independence of its judiciary. Israel feels comfortable with the anti-democratic extreme right of European states in the same way that one feels comfortable with a family member who belches and gossips, losing any sense of self-control or table manners.

    More generally, these countries today share a deep common political core: fear of foreigners at the borders (it must be specified, however, that Israelis’ fears are less imaginary than those of Hungarians or Polish); references to the nation’s pride untainted by a dubious past, casting critics as traitors to the nation; and outlawing human rights organizations and contesting global norms based on moral principles. The Netanyahu-Trump-Putin triumvirate has a definite shared vision and strategy: to create a political bloc that would undermine the current liberal international order and its key players.

    In a recent article about Trump for Project Syndicate, legal scholar Mark S. Weiner suggested that Trump’s political vision and practice follow (albeit, unknowingly) the precepts of Carl Schmitt, the German legal scholar who joined the Nazi Party in 1933.

    “In place of normativity and universalism, Schmitt offers a theory of political identity based on a principle that Trump doubtless appreciates deeply from his pre-political career: land,” wrote Weiner. “For Schmitt, a political community forms when a group of people recognizes that they share some distinctive cultural trait that they believe is worth defending with their lives. This cultural basis of sovereignty is ultimately rooted in the distinctive geography… that a people inhabit. At stake here are opposing positions about the relation between national identity and law. According to Schmitt, the community’s nomos [the Greek word for “law”] or sense of itself that grows from its geography, is the philosophical precondition for its law. For liberals, by contrast, the nation is defined first and foremost by its legal commitments.”

    Netanyahu and his ilk subscribe to this Schmittian vision of the political, making legal commitments subordinate to geography and race. Land and race are the covert and overt motives of Netanyahu’s politics. He and his coalition have, for example, waged a politics of slow annexation in the West Bank, either in the hope of expelling or subjugating the 2.5 million Palestinians living there, or of controlling them.

    They have also radicalized the country’s Jewishness with the highly controversial nation-state law. Playing footsie with anti-Semitic leaders may seem to contradict the nation-state law, but it is motivated by the same statist and Schmittian logic whereby the state no longer views itself as committed to representing all of its citizens, but rather aims to expand territory; increase its power by designating enemies; define who belongs and who doesn’t; narrow the definition of citizenship; harden the boundaries of the body collective; and undermine the international liberal order. The line connecting Orban to the nationality law is the sheer and raw expansion of state power.

    Courting Orban or Morawiecki means having allies in the European Council and Commission, which would help Israel block unwanted votes, weaken Palestinian international strategies and create a political bloc that could impose a new international order. Netanyahu and his buddies have a strategy and are trying to reshape the international order to meet their own domestic goals. They are counting on the ultimate victory of reactionary forces to have a free hand to do what they please inside the state.

    But what is most startling is the fact that in order to promote his illiberal policies, Netanyahu is willing to snub and dismiss the greatest part of the Jewish people, its most accepted rabbis and intellectuals, and the vast number of Jews who have supported, through money or political action, the State of Israel. This suggests a clear and undeniable shift from a politics based on the people to a politics based on the land.

    For the majority of Jews outside Israel, human rights and the struggle against anti-Semitism are core values. Netanyahu’s enthusiastic support for authoritarian, anti-Semitic leaders is an expression of a profound shift in the state’s identity as a representative of the Jewish people to a state that aims to advance its own expansion through seizure of land, violation of international law, exclusion and discrimination. This is not fascism per se, but certainly one of its most distinctive features.

    This state of affairs is worrisome but it is also likely to have two interesting and even positive developments. The first is that in the same way that Israel has freed itself from its “Jewish complex” – abandoning its role as leader and center of the Jewish people as a whole – many or most Jews will now likely free themselves from their Israel complex, finally understanding that Israel’s values and their own are deeply at odds. World Jewish Congress head Ron Lauder’s August 13, 2018, op-ed in The New York Times, which was close to disowning Israel, is a powerful testimony to this. Lauder was very clear: Israel’s loss of moral status means it won’t be able to demand the unconditional loyalty of world Jewry. What was in the past experienced by many Jews as an inner conflict is now slowly being resolved: Many or most members of Jewish communities will give preference to their commitment to the constitutions of their countries – that is to universalist human rights.

    Israel has already stopped being the center of gravity of the Jewish world, and as such, it will be able to count only on the support of a handful of billionaires and the ultra-Orthodox. This means that for the foreseeable future, Israel’s leverage in American politics will be considerably weakened.

    Trumpism is a passing phase in American politics. Latinos and left-wing Democrats will become increasingly involved in the country’s politics, and as they do, these politicians will find it increasingly difficult to justify continued American support of Israeli policies that are abhorrent to liberal democracies. Unlike in the past, however, Jews will no longer pressure them to look the other way.

    The second interesting development concerns Europe. The European Union no longer knows what its mission was. But the Netanyahus, Trumps, Orbans and Morawieckis will help Europe reinvent its vocation: The social-democrat bloc of the EU will be entrusted with the mission of opposing state-sanctioned anti-Semitism and all forms of racism, and above all defending Europe’s liberal values that we, Jews and non-Jews, Zionists and anti-Zionists, have all fought so hard for. Israel, alas, is no longer among those fighting that fight.

    A shorter version of this article has originally appeared in Le Monde.

    • Eva Illouz : « Orban, Trump et Nétanyahou semblent affectionner barrières et murs »
      https://www.lemonde.fr/idees/article/2018/08/08/eva-illouz-israel-contre-les-juifs_5340351_3232.html?xtor=RSS-3208
      Dans une tribune au « Monde », l’universitaire franco-israélienne estime que l’alliance du gouvernement israélien avec les régimes « illibéraux » d’Europe de l’Est crée une brèche au sein du peuple juif, pour qui la lutte contre l’antisémitisme et la mémoire de la Shoah ne sont pas négociables.

      LE MONDE | 08.08.2018 à 06h39 • Mis à jour le 08.08.2018 à 19h18 | Par Eva Illouz (directrice d’études à l’Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales)

      Tribune. Un tremblement de terre est tranquillement en train de secouer le monde juif. Lorsque le premier ministre israélien, Benyamin Nétanyahou, choisit de soutenir Donald Trump avant et après l’élection présidentielle américaine de 2016, certains pouvaient encore donner à ce dernier le bénéfice du doute. Certes, Trump s’était entouré de gens comme Steve Bannon dont émanaient des relents antisémites, certes, il refusait aussi de condamner sa base électorale sympathisante du Ku Klux Klan, mais personne n’était encore sûr de la direction que prendrait sa nouvelle présidence.

      Les événements de Charlottesville, en août 2017, n’ont plus permis le doute. Les manifestants néonazis commirent des actes de violence contre des contre-manifestants pacifiques (tuant une personne en fonçant dans la foule avec une voiture), mais Trump condamna de la même façon opposants modérés et manifestants néonazis.

      Le monde entier fut choqué de cette mise en équivalence, mais Jérusalem ne protesta pas. L’observateur indulgent (ou cynique) aurait pu interpréter ce silence comme l’acquiescement forcé du vassal vis-à-vis de son suzerain : de tous les pays du monde, Israël est celui qui reçoit la plus grande aide militaire des Etats-Unis.

      Cette interprétation n’est désormais plus possible. Il est devenu clair que Nétanyahou a de fortes sympathies pour d’autres dirigeants qui, comme Trump, front preuve d’une grande indulgence vis-à-vis de l’antisémitisme et dont il ne dépend ni militairement ni économiquement.
      Une statue à Budapest

      Prenons l’exemple de la Hongrie. En 2015, le gouvernement y annonça son intention de dresser une statue à la mémoire de Balint Homan, ministre qui joua un rôle décisif dans la déportation de 600 000 juifs hongrois. Quelques mois plus tard, en 2016, il fut question d’ériger à Budapest une statue à la mémoire d’un des architectes de la législation antijuive durant la seconde guerre mondiale, György Donáth....


  • Netanyahu expands his struggle against EU during Baltics visit -

    Netanyahu said he intended to counterbalance the EU’s ’unfriendly approach to Israel’ through direct contact with European leaders

    Noa Landau
    Aug 24, 2018 4:18 AM

    https://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-netanyahu-expands-his-struggle-against-eu-during-baltics-visit-1.6

    In the heart of Vilnius, Lithuania – his ancestors’ homeland, as he often points out – Benjamin Netanyahu formally thanked the country’s prime minister for helping him wage his all-out diplomatic war on the European Union in recent years.
    Netanyahu lauded Saulius Skvernelis on Thursday for his “strong stand” in support of Israel in EU forums. He said it was refreshing to see Skvernelis stand for “clarity, truth and courage.”
    “I want to thank you, Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Linas, for the strong position you have taken in the forums of the EU on behalf of truth, on behalf of Israel, on behalf of decency. Israel is often mistreated by the EU in Brussels. There are many distortions that are leveled at us and it’s refreshing to see that you take a stand of clarity, of truth and of courage. And we discussed how that can be expanded,” he said.

    To really understand Israel and the Middle East - subscribe to Haaretz
    Netanyahu said he intended to counterbalance the EU’s “unfriendly approach to Israel” through direct contact with European leaders, as he began a three-day trip to Lithuania, where he is set to meet leaders of the Baltic nations.
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    Lithuania helped Netanyahu visit the EU headquarters in December by getting him a breakfast invitation with European foreign ministers before their monthly session. The move was seen at the time as running contrary to protocol and raised considerable anger in the office of the union’s head of foreign affairs, Federica Mogherini.
    Netanyahu has systematically cozied up to the most nationalistic countries of central and east Europe, with the aim of sabotaging the required consensus among the union’s 28 members to pursue a uniform foreign policy. Now he further revealed his strategy to use sub-regional blocs of states, like the Visegrad Forum and its star from Hungary, Viktor Orban, to sway EU positions on the Palestinians and Iran, or at least prevent a consensus, a tactic that would hinder the possibility of advancing new moves affecting Israel.
    “I am interested in balancing the not always friendly attitude of the European Union towards Israel so that we receive fairer and more straight-forward treatment. I am doing this through contacts with blocs of countries within the European Union, Eastern European countries, [and] now with the Baltic countries, as well, of course, as with other countries,” Netanyahu said before boarding his plane.
    Netanyahu is also due to meet Lituhania’s President Dalia Grybauskaite, Latvian Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis and Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas. Also, Netanyahu is scheduled to attend a commemoration ceremony at the memorial site of the Jews’ massacre in Ponar, meet the leaders of the Jewish community in the Vilnius’ Choral Synagogue, the only in the city to survive the Holocaust, and visit the gravesite of the Vilna Gaon, where he will no doubt tell his hosts yet again the history of his family, descendants from the sage of Vilna.
    “You know, my family’s from here,” Netanyahu told his Lithuanian counterpart a moment before their meeting. “I know, I know,” the host said.
    Israel’s relations with Lithuania and Latvia have been growing warmer in the last few years. Estonia is seen as cooler in its position and leaning toward a neutral stand on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – especially during its term as the EU’s president. Unlike West Europe’s larger states, the Baltic states suffer from negative migration to other EU countries, which leads to a brain drain, and Israel is seeking to strengthen its relations with Estonia on the basis of this issue. Also, the complex history of the Baltic states and Russia has led to the rise of ultra-nationalistic views, and, since the Russian invasion of Crimea, deep concern over defense and military power.
    Netanyahu emphasized that, too, in his meetings, telling Lithuanian leaders that like Israel, Lithuania has great national pride, while stressing that this quality stood “alongside democratic values and individual rights.”
    Observers in the corridors of Brussels told Haaretz that Netanyahu’s acts indeed have a “chilling effect” on the ability to publish joint statements in the name of the 28 member states. These dynamics are not new but became more prevalent and assertive in the past two or three years. “It’s more difficult for the EU to speak with one clear voice on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” one observer said.
    Netanyahu’s cultivation of relations with the eastern European and Baltic states at the expense of the large liberal countries, like France and Germany, comes at a price that some would call ideological and others would call strategic. He is doing all he can to undermine Germany and France in a bid to prevent EU support for the two-state solution, which he himself usually supports in statements made to international audiences.


  • Water levels in Danube recede to record lows, hindering shipping in Hungary | Reuters
    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-europe-weather-hungary-shipping/water-levels-in-danube-recede-to-record-lows-hindering-shipping-in-hungary-

    Water levels on the Danube dropped to record lows on three sections of the river in Hungary on Wednesday due to a recent drought, hindering passenger cruise ships and causing losses to freight shipping companies.

    In Budapest the Danube receded to 0.61 meters, just above the record low of 0.51 meters recorded in 2003, the National Water Authority said in a statement.


    Photo: Sándor Csudai / We Love Budapest


  • A law that tells the truth about Israel
    The nation-state law makes it plain. Israel is for Jews only, on the books. It’s easier this way for everyone
    Gideon Levy Jul 12, 2018 5:01 AM - Haaretz.com
    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-a-law-that-tells-the-truth-about-israel-1.6267705

    The Knesset is about to legislate one of its most important laws ever, and the one most in keeping with reality. The nation-state law will put an end to Israel’s vague nationalism and present Zionism as it is. The law will also put an end to the farce about Israel being “Jewish and democratic,” a combination that never existed and could never exist because of the inherent contradiction between the two values that cannot be reconciled, except by deception.

    If the state is Jewish, it cannot be democratic, because of the lack of equality; if it’s democratic, it cannot be Jewish, because a democracy does not bestow privilege based on ethnicity. So now the Knesset has decided: Israel is Jewish. Israel is declaring that it is the nation-state of the Jewish people, not a state of its citizens, not a state of the two peoples that live within it, and has therefore ceased to be an egalitarian democracy, not just in practice but also in theory. That’s why this law is so important. It is a truthful law.

    The uproar over the bill was intended mainly as an effort to continue the policy of national ambiguity. The president and the attorney general, the ostensible guardians of decency, protested and received compliments from the liberal camp. The president shouted that the law would be “a weapon in the hands of Israel’s enemies,” and the attorney general warned about the “international ramifications.”

    The prospect of Israel’s veil being removed before the world prompted them to act. Reuven Rivlin, it must be said, cried out with great vigor and courage against the clause allowing community-acceptance committees to screen residents and its implications for the regime, but most liberals were simply horrified to read the reality when it was worded as a law.

    Mordechai Kremnitzer, in Tuesday’s Haaretz, also cried out in vain when he said the bill would “foment a revolution, no less. It will spell the end of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state ...” He added that the bill would make Israel “a leader among nationalist countries like Poland and Hungary,” as if it isn’t already and hasn’t been for a long time. In Poland and Hungary there is no tyranny over another people lacking rights, which has become a permanent reality and an inseparable part of how this state and its regime operate, with no end in sight.

    All those years of hypocrisy were pleasant. It was nice to say that apartheid was only in South Africa, because there everything was rooted in racial laws, and we had no such laws. To say that Hebron is not apartheid, the Jordan Valley is not apartheid, and that the occupation really isn’t part of the regime. To say that we were the only democracy in the region, even with the occupation.

    It was nice to claim that since Israeli Arabs can vote, we are an egalitarian democracy. To point out that there’s an Arab party, even if it’s excluded from any influence. To point out that Arabs can be admitted to the Jews’ hospitals; that they can study in the Jews’ universities and live anywhere they choose. (You bet.)

    How enlightened we are; our Supreme Court ruled in the Kaadan case that an Arab family could buy a home in Katzir, after years of litigation and endless evasion. How tolerant we are that the Arabs are permitted to speak Arabic, an official language. The latter was certainly a fiction; Arabic never was remotely treated as an official language, the way Swedish is in Finland, where the minority is far smaller than the Arab minority here.

    It was comfortable to ignore that the lands owned by the Jewish National Fund, which include most of the state’s lands, were for Jews only – with the progressive Supreme Court backing that stance – and claim we’re a democracy. It was much more pleasant to think of ourselves as egalitarian.

    Now there will be a law that tells the truth. Israel is for Jews only, on the books. The nation-state of the Jewish people, not of its residents. Its Arabs are second-class citizens and its Palestinian subjects are hollow, nonexistent. Their fate is determined in Jerusalem, but they aren’t part of the state. It’s easier this way for everyone.

    There remains a small problem with the rest of the world, and with Israel’s image, which this law will tarnish somewhat. It’s no big deal. Israel’s new friends will be proud of this law. For them it will be a light unto the nations. And people of conscience all over the world already know the truth and have long been struggling against it. A weapon for the BDS movement? Certainly. Israel has earned it, and will now legislate it.


  • Israel’s stupid, ignorant and amoral betrayal of the truth on Polish involvement in the Holocaust

    We accepted the mendacious official Polish narrative, and swallowed it. And we legitimized the government’s campaign to harass, fine and impoverish Polish liberals, academics, journalists and simply honest people who expose Poles’ involvement in the crimes of the Holocaust

    Yehuda BauerSendSend me email alerts
    Jul 04, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-okay-so-the-poles-didn-t-murder-jews-1.6242474

    The Polish and Israeli governments have reached an agreement on an amendment to the Polish law that states that claiming that Poland as a country, or the Polish people, were responsible for crimes committed by the Nazis is a criminal offense punishable by up to three years in prison. According to the agreement, this criminal aspect was removed.
    The Polish government passed the law to begin with to defend its good name against accusations that many Poles took part in the murder of Jews during the Holocaust. And who will decide on the historical facts? According to the Poles, it will be the Institute of National Remembrance, which is run by the politicians controlling the country today.
    And so according to the law – even after the agreement with Israel – the government will determine what happened in the past via historians in its service, and this narrative cannot be critiqued by historians, independent researchers or others. Is this acceptable to the Israeli government?
    >> With Nationalists in Power, Can Jews Ever Feel at Home in Poland? | Opinion ■ The Polish were once victims of historical whitewashing. Now they are doing the same | Analysis >> 
    The joint announcement by Israel and Poland also states that many segments of Polish society helped Jews. This position diminishes the heroism of Poland’s Righteous Among the Nations because the noble-spirited Polish rescuers had to hide not only from the Germans, but also, and perhaps mainly, from their Polish neighbors.
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    Yad Vashem has recognized some 6,750 Polish Righteous Among the Nations. They are a small and courageous minority. Unfortunately, the social norm that was accepted in occupied Poland was completely different: The usual conduct was not to help Jews, but to harm them, and many Poles were involved in the persecution of Jews. Europeans’ cooperation with the Nazi death machine was widespread, of course, not only in Poland. But in other countries, scholars who uncover this can’t be penalized.
    As for the abrogation of the criminal aspect of the law, let’s not forget that this also means eliminating the exception of historians and literary figures whose profession is to write about this subject. From now on they too, and of course also journalists, educators, politicians and others, can be sued for revealing historical truths. Eliminating the criminal aspect lifts the threat of imprisonment and fines in criminal proceedings, but not punishment in civil proceedings.
    In fact, the revamped law encourages civil suits against Poles who claim that a good many Poles were involved in persecuting Jews. Naturally, this claim is correct. There were Poles who gave Jews up to the Polish police, who in turn gave them to the Germans. There were those who turned Jews in directly to the Germans, and there were those who murdered Jews themselves.

    The clauses of the law that still stand can, apparently, be imposed via civil proceedings against anyone claiming that the main motives for persecuting Jews were the anti-Semitism of a good many Poles and the greed of Poles who on a huge scale throughout Poland stole the possessions of those who were deported and murdered.
    The Law and Justice party now rules Poland, with a decisive majority in parliament. In fact, the government is in the hands of the party chairman, Jaroslaw Kaczynski, who in this is imitating Stalin, who controlled the Soviet Union from his position as head of the Bolshevik party. Kaczynski and his party are of course anti-Communist, so their rule can be defined as Bolshevik anti-Communism.
    >> Opinion: Neither Poland nor Israel can afford their fixation with the past >> 
    Kaczynski announced a few days ago that preparations are already being made in civil courts to sue offenders. These people could be required to pay high fines.
    Polish liberals, academics, journalists and simply honest people who want to expose the acts of harassment by Poles against Jews during the Holocaust could risk impoverishment and loss of livelihood. It may be assumed that their research funding will be reduced or eliminated, and honest people will be removed from their jobs. Poland will quickly become an illiberal democracy, the term favored by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who supports this nationalist-populist revolt and will receive a royal welcome by the Israeli government on his upcoming visit here.
    The declaration by Warsaw and Jerusalem legitimizes this betrayal by the Israeli government of the historical truth, the memory of the Holocaust and the marvelous people in Poland who investigated the facts on which we base our criticism. And for what did the Israeli government sacrifice truth and justice? For its current economic, security and political interests, which are more important than some Holocaust that happened 70 or 80 years ago.
    We accepted the mendacious official Polish narrative, and swallowed it. If we come now to the Americans or the Europeans with complaints against what this generates in Poland, they’ll answer us, and rightfully, that the Israeli government accepted the Polish facts. I don’t know what was going on here – ignorance, stupidity or the clear amoral victory of transient interests that will remain with us as an eternal disgrace. And perhaps it was simply betrayal.


  • In squats by the Serbian border, young men trying to enter the EU live in dangerous limbo

    Just 300 metres from the border crossing between Serbia and Hungary, a gateway to the European Union, around 30 men are standing in the middle of a field. It’s late January and the temperature is near zero. Nearby are several abandoned buildings where they are temporarily living. An open fire, made of wood, tires, and plastic, serves as the only source of warmth, but it creates heavy and poisonous air inside the squat. They are waiting for drinking water, food, and warm clothes to be distributed by a group of volunteers – the only people helping them to survive the winter.

    These men, most of them from Pakistan and Afghanistan, were pushed from their homes by ongoing conflicts and poor economic conditions. They are trying to cross the Balkan corridor to seek asylum in the EU, but got trapped in Serbia when Hungary and Croatia erected razor wire fences on their borders in 2015. For many, this journey has been part of their life for several years, and has involved multiple deportations and restarted attempts at making it to the EU.

    As part of my PhD research, I spent a total of five weeks between May 2017 and January 2018 in seven transit squats and three state-run camps in Serbia.

    The chances of making a legal border crossing from Serbia to the EU countries of Hungary or Croatia are getting slimmer. The legal border crossing points into Hungary currently accept only two to six people per working day. The “lucky” ones are mainly families with children, who often pay the Serbian state authorities €3,000 per family to appear on top of highly corrupted “waiting lists” which stipulate who gets access and whose asylum claim will be assessed. This makes single men the most disadvantaged and vulnerable group in such transit camps, and they often have to rely on their own support networks, deemed illegal by Serbian authorities.


    https://theconversation.com/in-squats-by-the-serbian-border-young-men-trying-to-enter-the-eu-li
    #frontières #hébergement #squats #asile #migrations #réfugiés #Serbie #Hongrie #limbe #réfugiés_afghans #réfugiés_pakistanais #hommes #zone_frontalière


  • Dear occupiers, sorry if we hurt your feelings - Opinion - Israel News | Haaretz.com
    Not one Israeli statesman today intends to apologize for the Nakba – not for the ethnic cleansing, nor for the exiling. But Abbas had no choice but to apologize for his Holocaust remark

    Gideon Levy May 06, 2018

    https://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-dear-occupiers-sorry-if-we-hurt-your-feelings-1.6055095

    It’s hard to imagine a more unfounded, bizarre and insane scenario than this: The leader of the Palestinian people is forced to apologize to the Jewish people. The one who was robbed apologizes to the robbers, the victim apologizes to the rapist, the dead to the killer.
    After all, the occupiers are so sensitive – and their feelings, and only theirs, must be taken into account. A nation that hasn’t stopped occupying, destroying and killing, and has never considered apologizing for anything – anything – gets its victims to apologize for one measly sentence by their leader. The rest is known: “apology not accepted.” What did you think would happen? That it would be “accepted”?
    You don’t have to be an admirer of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to understand the depths of the absurd. You don’t have to be an Israel hater to understand the extent of the chutzpah.
    Israel holds a magic card, the lottery of the century: the horror of anti-Semitism. The value of this card is on a dizzying rise, especially now as the Holocaust recedes and anti-Semitism is being replaced in many countries by criticism of Israel. Playing this lucky card covers everything. Its holders not only can do anything they please, they can be insulted and put on the squeeze.
    The world became agitated over Abbas like it never was over any Israeli incitement – the chorus of the European Union, the UN envoy and of course, the ambassador of the settlers, David Friedman, who never denounces Israel for anything, only the Palestinians. Even The New York Times took on an amazingly sharp tone: “Let Abbas’ vile words be his last as Palestinian leader.”
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    It’s hard to imagine that the newspaper the Jewish right has marked as an Israel hater, baselessly of course, would use similar language against an Israeli prime minister; the one responsible, for example, for the massacre of unarmed protesters.

    There’s a double standard in Israel as well: It will never attack the anti-Semitic right in Europe as it attacks Abbas, who is certainly much less anti-Semitic, if at all, than Austrian Vice Chancellor Heinz-Christian Strache or Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.
    Abbas said something that should not have been said. A day later he apologized. He regretted and retracted what he said, condemned the Holocaust and anti-Semitism, and reaffirmed his commitment to the two-state solution. It wouldn’t have taken much more for him to bend his knee to Israel’s hobnail boots and ask forgiveness for continuing to live under them.
    But Israel won’t let any apology stop its nefarious gloating. Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman was quick to damn the other side, as usual: “despicable Holocaust denier apology not accepted.”


  • Mehdi Hasan - on the button, as ever.

    “We hear a great deal from liberals in the West these days about the rise of authoritarian and illiberal governments across the world: from Putin’s Russia to Orbán’s Hungary; from Trump’s America to Erdogan’s Turkey; from Modi’s India to Duterte’s Philippines.

    We don’t hear so much about Netanyahu’s Israel — despite the fact that the country, as former Israeli Foreign Minister Shlomo Ben-Ami has conceded, “is succumbing to its deepest ethnocentric impulses” and is “now well on its way to joining the growing club of illiberal democracies, and it has Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to thank.””

    https://theintercept.com/2018/04/30/israel-palestine-netanyahu-idf-gaza