Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Are we..?


We called it the Arab spring when in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya the people stood up to their dictators demanding their resignations. Many thought this was the road to more freedom and less corruption. Support poured in from the western world. Elections, democracy and a host of other terms were used in an effort to build sympathy but were we really considering all implications?

What we see is that women's rights are quickly becoming non-existent. Not surprising when you hold free elections in an Islamic country and the only real organized Islamic organization, and therefore the most serious contender, sees women as property and baby-machines. Male baby-machines to be correct. Not being able to produce a male baby could be seen as a direct insult to the husband and he can punish you in every way he likes. He is after all The man.

Now in light of the success of the Great White Leader (Geert Wilders, ed) here in The Netherlands I can see how you follow in his footsteps and think that Islam is a backwards religion and that will never happen here. But I beg to differ.

We have a long history in liberalism. Think of euthanasia, separation between church and state, legalizing prostitution and allowing but not legalizing marihuana. But all of the aforementioned are challenged from the outside. Whether it is the European Union, The US or any church everyone has something to say. And they may become louder.

In the US we have seen the influence on the Republican Party (GOP) by a political movement called Tea Party. The GOP candidates and representatives are trying to outdo each other in attempts to not fall out of favor with the Tea Party. This has led to some ridiculous proposals and some sort of comfort zone in which they feel you can say anything you like.
To give you an example. The proposed vice-president for the GOP, Paul Ryan, supported banning all abortions, even in cases of rape and incest. Interesting in light of the hoopla this week surrounding Todd Akin.
And the proposed President for the GOP, Mitt Romney, attempted to deny rape victims the morning after pill and withdrew his support for legal abortion, embryonic stem cell research, comprehensive sex education, and gay civil rights while he was Governor of Massachusetts.

You may, at first glance, not see the similarities between the US and the effects of the Arab Spring but in both cases there is a rather large religious influence for the proposed policies. And it is not that many share all these views. No, a minority is that well organized that they are able to have a majority follow them.

Let’s just hope for the US that come November a majority will say enough is enough and that as a result the GOP will reform and be able to break away from the Tea Party. In our political spectrum we would envision a group breaking away from the GOP but in the American system of winner takes all this would mean handing the reigns to the Democrats for the foreseeable future and that is very unlikely.

So I ask you: Are we at the eve of a global war about women's rights or will common sense prevail?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The cops

Around 10AM the house phone rang. A little irritated, this was disturbing me doing nothing, I answered.

"Yes!"
"Hello, we would like to discuss this beautiful day and the part the lord, our saviour, plays in it."
"I'm sorry. I've no interest in that. I cannot grant you access to the building."
"Okay, thank you for your time. Have a nice day."
<insert grunt>

So far it was nothing more then a little disturbance and not something you'd blog about. But about an hour later my doorbell rang and a tad more irritated I went to answer it.

"Hello, we would like to discuss this beautiful day and the part the lord, our saviour, plays in it."
"You rang my house phone earlier and I didn't allow you in. How did you end up at my door?"
"One of your neighbours let us in and..."
"Sorry for interrupting but as is posted by the front door this building has restricted access. So would you be so kind and return to the lobby and use the house phone system to get access to a particular person. I'm sure my neighbour didn't say you could go door to door."
"But we are only spreading the word of our lord, our saviour."
"Or you could be scouting the place and return on another day with other intentions. Now could you please return to the lobby?"
"You think we are thieves?"
"That's another discussion but for now it is your word against my idea so it's 50/50. Please return to the lobby and do as I advised."

They started to move in the direction of my neighbour and not in the direction of the lobby.

"I'm sorry. I politely asked you three times. This is private property and I order you to return to the lobby. If not you leave me no option but to call the police."
"There is no need for that tone. We are friendly people."
"Friendly people wouldn't invade the privacy of others and certainly would do what's was asked of them. Now go. I'll be following you."
"Pfft. We'll go."

But they didn't go back to the lobby. They went up one level. Their choice.

Five minutes later the police asked them to leave the premises.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Being a champion

We were discussing Epke Zonderland when Nath said that she wondered how it felt when you are able to do something nobody else in the world is capable of at that moment. When I answered: "It feels great but isn't really that special." she paused for a second. "I'm probably going to regret this but how so?"

"Well you are the only woman able to sleep with me tonight."
Another pause....
"I'm also the only one able choosing not to sleep with you."

Touché !