29.4.2017

On hijab and David's Star in Austria

The Austrian president Alexander van der Bellen proposes that all women should wear a hijab to show solidarity to Muslim women in Austria and to "fight Islamophobia". As a parallel he cites that the Danish started to wear the yellow David's Star to show solidarity to Jews in their country during Nazi occupation.

This is an embarrassingly twisted view, for several reasons.

First of all, van der Bellen references a myth. The Danish king or Danish people did not start to wear David's Star in solidarity to Jews. Anyone can quickly check this with Snopes. It did not happen.

When a religious symbol is used in a
situation like in this Alamy stock photo,
that is what vilifies its meaning. 
Otherwise, no one cares.
Secondly, wearing hijab is a person's own choice. Whatever perception people have about what the hijab means is largely decided by how the wearers themselves behave and express their religion. As a religious symbol, European law should be neutral about it. But as it's a person's own choice, it's rather insulting to compare the voluntary wearing of hijab to a situation where Nazis would insist that people of certain race must wear a mark to enable persecuting them based on that race. Nobody should be proposing a persecution of people based on voluntary wearing hijab. In fact, even the Nazis did not require Jews to wear the star in Denmark.

(At least I hope the wearing of hijab is voluntary, and not instigated by fear of reprisals and violence.)

Finally, I can only wonder why van der Bellen proposes that Austrian women should start wearing hijab in solidarity. Wouldn't it make a lot more sense if Austrian men, and  Alexander himself in particular, would start with that solidarity?

17.4.2017

The lost tale of Turkey in EU

The Turkish constitutional referendum has been resolved in Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's favour. Whether honestly, or, as is more likely, through some suspicious electoral practices, it doesn't really matter. Erdogan will cling to power.

It's time to look at the history of Finnish comments, which show how the local politicians, eager to please the policies in Brussels, have kept talking in favour of Turkey admitted to the union. We'd be in quite a trouble if they had had their way.

The articles are mostly in Finnish, headlined like this:

1997: MTV: Turkey's EU membership is being debated
1999: Verkkouutiset: EU countries support TUrkey's membership
2004: Greens: Membership talks with Turkey must be started soon
2005: Rehn would like to start Turkey's membership talks as planned
2006: Lipponen drivers Turkey's EU membership
2007: Olli Rehn: Turkey membership 'vital' for EU
2008: Foreign minister Alexander Stubb: EU must expand with consistent policies
2009: Matti Vanhanen supports Turkey's EU membership
2011: Erkki Tuomioja: Iceland and Turkey joining EU would strengthen the union
2012: President Halonen promises Finland supports Turkey's EU membership
2013: Journalist union: EU membership would improve Turkish freedom of press
2014: Europe-Youth: Turkey is willing to adapt to similar rules with other EU countries
2015: EK: EU-Turkey economic ties develop further

Finnish politicians apparently kept banging their head to the wall, because it would pelase Brussels. Then comes David Cameron, who is starting to fathom that his electorate really, really does not like to be in the same union with Turkey, or even in the same union with Jean-Claude Juncker who wants to be in the same union with Turkey:

2016: Turkey unlikely to join EU 'until the year 3000', says Cameron

Well, that tale is now over, in many ways.

I just hope, for the sake of the people in Turkey, that they can climb out of this hole without major violence and loss of freedom.

2.3.2017

You wanted identity politics. You got identity politics.

(I wrote this the day after Trump won the election, but forgot to publish then).

The world is stunned by Donald Trump's victory in U.S. presidential elections. I'll add my nickel's worth to the discussion why he won.

Trump won because his voters saw others involve in ferocious identity politics, and decided to do the same.

There was Black Lives Matter, tuned to a frenzy so much that they claim that saying "all lives matter" is racism. Really?

There are the people who demand "safe spaces" in universities, to avoid being exposed to controversial ideas or anything that makes them uncomfortable. This is against the very purpose of university, which is to spread, discuss and debate ideas. It's bonkers.

There was the Occupy movement, ferociously partisan.

There are various movements for sexual activists, for example the use the toilets not matching the actual physical gender of people. It's an important matter for a few people out of a million, and it's going all the way to U.S. Supreme Court.

These countless identity movements have left a large part of Americans feel that they are, too, a minority group. At least that they are treated like a disrespected minority group. So why shouldn't they rally to a candidate who makes them feel like they're finally being listened to?

Their vote counts.

Le Pen for President campaign


It appears the French judiciary and European Parliament desperately want Marine  Le Pen to win the French presidential election.

Le Pen posts Twitter messages that highlight the brutality of Daesh. Then the French start to give her more visibility by starting a court case, and the European Parliament lifts her immunity.

But what is Le Pen doing? She is simply showing how brutal the Daish is. She's not working for them. She's working against them. She's maybe using them, knowing that most people find Daish disgusting.

And then the European idiots start to give her more publicity, ensuring she will win the presidential election.

Dear MEPs: you are giving us our very own Trump moment.