Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Obama on Libya; Bush on Iraq

LA Times blogger Andrew Malcolm posted this video with the brilliant headline, "Did Barack Obama channel George W. Bush in his Libya speech?"  Now that's a headline to drive traffic to your blog.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Africom's African Adventures Of Mythical Proportions

On St Patrick's day Africom's public affairs officer Nicole Dalrymple (princesse Alcyone) and her colleague John Travis (the heroic prince Ceyx?) decided to go on a mythical boattrip on the Zaïre river.
Allthough, as John Travis explains on his blog:
"the dark clouds should have discouraged us. The rumbling thunder coming from behind the house should have made us think twice. Hell, the quick burst of rain should have made us wonder if it would be followed by more."

They went ahead anyway.

It turned out to become more then an exciting adventure. The boat had to be pulled ashore because of a "perfect storm", as Nicole Dalrymple writes on the Africom blog today.

Should we not interpret this "prophetic blogpost" as mythical metaphorefor Africom's current adventure in Libya reassuring the public that allthough, as John Chiarello eloquently puts it
"we did it on the fly"
and
"we didn’t do our homework"
, in the end everyone will be drinking Primus or Turbo King in a romantic African setting?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Susan Rice Saving Career Through Libya?

Tony Gambino said in an interview with Jason Stearns:
"During the Cold War, US foreign policy globally had clear priorities. That clear lens, however, disappeared with the end of the Cold War in 1990"
Exactedly!

Susan Rice @ambassadorrice tweeted yesterday
"Referred last night to @PaulKagame OpEd supporting int’l response in Libya. It’s behind paywall, but here’s recap: http://goo.gl/O9WdZ

Rwandan Prez @PaulKagame knows first hand the cost of international inaction. He strongly supports the int'l response in Libya to save lives"
When the US Ambassador at the United Nations quotes the support of a criminal who recently rigged elections in Rwanda, for military action in Libya, that deserves some meticulous attention. How should we understand her tweets?

Off course, the decision to push for a no-fly zone comes from Hillary Clinton, Samantha Powers and Susan Rice as explained in this excellent article by the New York Times"Shift by Clinton" :
"The American involvement in military action in Libya should be limited — no ground troops — and finite. “Days, not weeks,” a senior White House official recalled him (the President) saying.
The shift in the administration’s position — from strong words against Libya to action — was forced largely by the events beyond its control: the crumbling of the uprising raised the prospect that Colonel Qaddafi would remain in power to kill “many thousands,” as Mr. Obama said at the White House on Friday.
The change became possible, though, only after Mrs. Clinton joined Samantha Power, a senior aide at the National Security Council, and Susan Rice, Mr. Obama’s ambassador to the United Nations, who had been pressing the case for military action, according to senior administration officials speaking only on condition of anonymity. Ms. Power is a former journalist and human rights advocate; Ms. Rice was an Africa adviser to President Clinton when the United States failed to intervene to stop the Rwanda genocide, which Mr. Clinton has called his biggest regret."
Learning from past mistakes, I am all for it, but let's not stop in 1994! Susan Rice is herself implicated in the disaster described in the Mapping report and of which Christoph Munzihirwa said:
"The world is stopping its ears because a larger ideology has been put into circulation, compared to which everything else is relative. Genocide become ‘ideological’ then works like a blank check that the current US administration has issued to Rwanda and Uganda to do anything they want to all the communities around in total impunity."
Susan Rice is quoted as saying the US government should "look the other away" while the RPF was butchering unarmed elderly, women and children, hundreds of thousands of them.
Howard French quotes Prunier:
"When Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Susan Rice came back from her first trip to the Great Lakes region [of East Africa], a member of her staff said, “Museveni [of Uganda] and Kagame agree that the basic problem in the Great Lakes is the danger of a resurgence of genocide and they know how to deal with that. The only thing we [i.e., the US] have to do is look the other way.”
and adds:
"The gist of Prunier’s anecdote is correct, except that participants have confirmed to me that it was Rice herself who spoke these words."

That fact is tarnishing the legacy of Bill Clinton and Susan Rice, it's obvious that they would love people to "forget" that episode in the history of the great lakes. It's in the interest of both that the facts contained in the mapping report will get effectively burried. She has refused to answer questions concerning the US role in "looking away" during that time, as reported here by Michelle Faul in october 2010:
"Requests for interviews about the role the United States military and its diplomats played during Rwanda's invasion of Congo all were referred to the U.S. State Department, which did not respond to questions. U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice, who was assistant secretary of state for African affairs from 1997, refused a request for an interview."

For obvious reasons.

It could very well be that Susan Rice, through her tweets, is attempting to use the Libyan situation to counter critics inside the Obama administration who think the State Department and Pentagon should do some serious self reflection concerning past failures in former Zaïre as described in the mapping report.

Susan Rice is betting on success in Libya to get rid of her critics. A very dangerous gamble, while, as the New York Times explains, she certainly does not only have friends inside the Obama administration:
"In joining Ms. Rice and Ms. Power, Mrs. Clinton made an unusual break with Secretary of Defense Robert M. Gates, who, along with the national security adviser, Thomas E. Donilon, and the counterterrorism chief, John O. Brennan, had urged caution. Libya was not vital to American national security interests, the men argued, and Mr. Brennan worried that the Libyan rebels remained largely unknown to American officials, and could have ties to Al Qaeda. "

In the meantime critics of a military solution to Libya, outside Obama's administration are not sitting on their hands.

Guido Westerwelle, Germany's foreign minister, has criticised Nicolas Sarkozy, France's president, for saying that European countries might consider military intervention in Arab countries other than Libya.
“I warn against having a discussion in Europe about a military intervention every time there is injustice in north Africa or in Arabia,” Westerwelle told a German radio station this morning (25 March). “I am convinced that there can only be a political solution in Libya. At the end of the day it is important that we clearly stand by the democrats,” he said. “But it is also clear that we cannot threaten military action against every country in north Africa where there is injustice.”
Some Conservatives Challenge Obama over Libya:
"Indeed, the freshmen tea partiers and Ron Paul supporters aren’t the only ones questioning the Libya "rescue" operation. Haley Barbour, a pillar of the Republican establishment of some considerable girth and weight, is not only asking "What are we doing in Libya?" but is also questioning our ten-year Afghan crusade, and wondering aloud why we can’t cut our bloated military budget"
Streiff writes on Redstate:
"My colleague RMJ has more details on this but is looks as though that the “rebels” being cheered on by Obama and al Qaeda are hardly a step up from the current regime"
When it comes to supporting democratic development in Libya how do we explain that we haven't heard anything on the "Libyan narrative" for example? Or why is it that we haven't read any phrases like "is Libya actually ready for the kind of democracy that we know in the west?", or does "Libyan civil society" actually exist? Phrases which were used by important lobbyists in Washington DC to make sure Paul Kagame could "win" the election in 2010.

Articles on the Libyan rebels. In Salon.

Gender Gap or a Difference in Perspective
?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Paul Kagame dealing with the "PR machine melt down"

Since over a year Kagame's regime has been facing a PR Fukushima on an unprecedented scale.

Previously, for over a decade, his pr machine was one of the most effective in the world. The combination of :
 seemed to work fine, until bloggers discovered why we need Kagame. Dealing with bloggers in the longtail of the global public sphere demands adaptation of an otherwise successfull approach.

It's great to see that Paul Kagame is aware of these major developments and increasingly aware of the fact that we collectively will be forever students of new media. However, I got a piece of advice for "Mister PR":

Yesterday he was doing a twitter session (good start I would say) on the BBC. However DjiDén Maninka asked a very simple question as to what his response to the Mapping report is:
@DjiDenManinka @paulkagame Que dites-vous à ceux qui vous accusent d'être un des principaux responsables des massacres à l'est du congo ?
Paul Kagame's reaction (an empty outburst and personal attack) shows that truth or compassion with the survivors of these mass killings are not part of his preoccupations, but also from a digital PR perspective he could do better:
@DjiDenManinka. U shd ask the Congolese,belgians n international(UN) any issues to do with Congo! Or ask yourslf?
Personal attacks, propaganda and evasion have consistenly been the main ingredients of Paul Kagame's Pr Machine. Just look at this interview with Stephen Sackur. If this is the kind of reaction he gives to people outside of Rwanda, it's easy to understand what happens to journalists asking "wrong questions" inside Rwanda.

However, in an era of digital PR the regime in Kigali clearly has to reinvent a more convincing answer to these hard questions, that's the only conclusion I can come up with. Off course I loved to add some fuel to the excitement:
@paulkagame answer to the question by @DjiDenManinka on the mapping report shows this criminal should be in prison in The Hague

Adaptation to new media hurts, no doubt, it's a steep learning curve, even for "mister PR":
@coloredopinions. If the Hague was put there for any meaningful thing u shd be the one to be/go there and the lot like u!!!

@coloredopinions. U r as tired,recycled,old n idle-minded as that mapping report u talk about...!
Isn't that reassuring for all of us who struggle to understand how to use new media effectively on a daily basis?

To sum up my advice to Paul Kagame and the digital team he is assembling, let me quote Winston Wolf:

"I'm not here to say please, I'm here to tell you what to do and if self-preservation is an instinct you possess you'd better fucking do it and do it quick. I'm here to help - if my help's not appreciated then lotsa luck, gentlemen. "

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Gerd Leers What Are You Waiting For?

Gerd Leers, Minister for Immigration and Asylum Affairs in the current Dutch government, has sofar remained silent on the implications of the Ruiz Zambrano ruling. An attitude that is obviously inspired by his unsavory objectives. In it's first reaction to the Ruiz Zambrano ruling, the Dutch government sent out a press release which tried to discredit the opinion by Advocate General Sharpston.

In stark contrast, yesterday, the proactive reaction by Allan Shatter the minister for equality, justice and defense in the Irish government:

"Given the importance of the ruling in the Zambrano case, I have decided, with the support of my Government colleagues, to make a brief public tatement outlining the consideration being given to cases involving Irish minor dependant citizen children who have a non-national third country parent or parents.

One possible approach in these matters is to wait for pending cases to be determined by the Irish Courts and for the Courts to interpret and apply the Court of Justice ruling. That is an entirely justifiable approach from a legal standpoint. However in this case the Government has agreed that there needs to be a more proactive approach and that it should make a clear statement of its intention to take early action in these cases, insofar as it is unnecessary to await rulings of the Courts. We should not tie up the courts unnecessarily or ask eligible families to wait longer than necessary.

Accordingly I have asked my officials to carry out an urgent examination of all cases before the courts (approximately 120 at present) involving Irish citizen children to which the Zambrano judgment may be relevant.

The Government has agreed with my proposal that early decisions in appropriate cases to which the Zambrano judgement applies be made without waiting for further rulings of the Courts.

I have also asked my officials to examine the cases in the Department in which the possibility of deportation is being considered in order to ascertain the number of cases in which there is an Irish citizen child and to which the Zambrano judgment is relevant. In addition, consideration will be given to those cases of Irish Citizen children who have left the state whose parents were refused permission to remain.

This initiative is being taken in the best interests of the welfare of eligible minor Irish citizen children and to ensure that the taxpayer is not exposed to any unnecessary additional legal costs."

Saturday, March 19, 2011

ChristenUnie: Conservatief Of Anti-Revolutionair?

De oorzaak van de verdeeldheid in de ChristenUnie is gebrek aan vertrouwen.

Omdat men geen vertrouwen heeft in de eigen anti-revolutionaire uitgangspunten, zoekt men het heil elders.

De neergang van de anti-revolutionaire politiek in Nederland is niet primair veroorzaakt door de secularisatie, maar door het samenspel van interne verdeeldheid in de gereformeerde kerken en de bezetting door de NAZI's. De scheuring in 1944 is in zekere zin vergelijkbaar met de destructieve actie van de ARP kamerfractie ("herenmuiterij")aan het eind van de 19de eeuw. Abraham Kuyper was echter een sluw tacticus die de conservatieve vleugel van de ARP op een gewiekste manier aan de kant zette.

Vandaag zegt Andre Rouvoet:
„Opkomen voor de zwakken, zoals beschreven in Psalm 72, hoort bij christelijke politiek en bij de ChristenUnie.”

Die uitspraak doet echter meer denken aan compassionate conservatism dan aan Abraham Kuyper's antithese. Een anti-revolutionair benadrukt juist het calvinisme als kracht. Niet voor niets heet het:
"in ons isolement ligt onze kracht".
De uitspraak:
"Hoe sociaal is het om mensen te laten overkomen uit niet-westerse landen die onvoldoende opleiding hebben om te kunnen slagen in onze samenleving?"
past bijvoorbeeld goed in het denkkader van compassionate conservatives, maar minder goed bij de antithese.

In een interview met Puchinger zegt Dr. Hendrik Algra bijvoorbeeld (in het boekje "Doctor Algra, de Friese Senator"):
"Aan Idenburg heb ik een heel merkwaardige herinnering, die ik even wil vertellen, omdat zij zo typerend is......op de Deputatenvergadering van 9 maart 1933, aan de vooravond van de verkiezingen; Colijn was voorzitter. En toen de Deputatenvergadering bijna was afgelopen, verzocht Colijn aan Idenburg om te willen danken. idenburg ging achter de lessenaar staan, en haalde een bijbeltje uit zijn zak, las daar een tekst uit voor... ik heb het hier, het was 2 Samuel 10:12 "Wees sterk en laat ons sterk zijn voor ons volk en voor de steden onzes Gods; de Here nu doe wat goed is in Zijn ogen" Dat trof mij toch zo, dat hij toen dat bijbeltje uit z'n zak nam en even het Woord liet spreken, he. Daar heeft hij toen een paar woorden over gezegd en toen heeft hij met ons gedankt. Toen is het mij zo opgevallen hoe duidelijk voor hem de parallel was tussen de strijd tegen de vijanden des Heren in het Oude Verbond en de politieke strijd die wij hadden te voeren. Als dat nu nog op diezelfde wijze gebeurde, dan zouden vele kerkbodes in amsterdam en elders er vele kritische aantekeningen bij maken - zegt u nou zelf!"

De antithese is (ik zou haast zeggen: "ook" of "nog steeds") niet populair binnen de ChristenUnie. Bij het begrijpen van Abraham Kuyper en de ARP kun je er echter niet omheen. In zekere zin lijkt ook Abraham Kuyper, netzo als Mussolini, een discipel van George Sorel's theorie, zoals ik eerder schreef:
"As one of Sorel's disciples (Benito Mussolini) said: "men do not move mountains; it is only necessary to create the illusion that mountains move." Social myths, says Sorel, are not descriptions of things, but "expressions of a determination to act."

De verwantschap tussen Abraham Kuyper en George Sorel wordt ook genoemd in de Bavinck Review uit 2010.

Bloggers die over Kuyper de ARP, conservatisme en/of George Sorel schrijven:

Last week Helit Orani was awarded a first prize writing on George Sorel in Young Scientist competition.

Kenn Hermann stelde in 2008 vragen over ARP, Abraham Kuyper en Max Havelaar. Sander Chan is de enige Nederlandse blogger die de moeite heeft genomen om te antwoorden.

Armin Mohler et la révolution conservatrice

Binnen de ChristenUnie wordt regelmatig geroepen om een conservatieve koers. Bijvoorbeeld door Bas Hengstmengel, en door Jonathan van Tongeren. Ook Verburgh's visie op Christelijke politiek wijkt af van de hierboven beschreven anti-revolutionaire lijn.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Democratische Audit Van Nederland

Begin januari 2009 kon men de call for papers lezen die betrekking heeft op de democratische audit. Aan de Universiteit Leiden was hierover een congres op 17 maart j.l. Pers heeft er ook aandacht aan besteed.

Ook hier een kort berichtje over deze audit.

Ergens ook iets gelezen over de oplossingsrichting die voorgesteld werd. Sprak mij niet aan. Helaas kan ik de link niet terugvinden.

Jan Vis en Wijbrandt van Schuur publiceerden in mei 2009 een document over het zelfde thema, dat hier te lezen is.

The Ex - Theme From Konono 1 - Indie-Scene

I read in Trouw, a dutch daily, about the Congolese band Konono 1in concert in the melkweg in Amsterdam coming sunday of days ago. Here we see the Ex, a punkband from Zaandam (a city close to Amsterdam) performing in Washintgon DC. For those familiar with Congolese music, it does sound a little familiar. Newsweek wrote about Konono 1 and said that the sound would make Jimmi Hendrix proud. Band founder of Konon 1 is Mawangu mingiedi. Stan Rijven, trouw reporter, also talks about Staff Benda Bilili who will be seen on shuffle.play next month. Shuffle.play is a new label for non-western music. Melkweg shuffle.play programmer Jair tchong says:
"Congo is an enormous powerhouse where music is concerned. Through new media people are tipping each other and Konono 1 has esthetics that is bigger then African music. It is raw tradition."
Also the first time I hear about the Indie-scene in the popmusic world that is focusing on Africa. People like Manu Chao and Damon Albarn(watch him here with Afel Bocoum - Sunset Coming On ).

Several bloggers mentioning the Konono 1 concert this sunday.
Le Guess who?
and inlog

Thursday, March 17, 2011

How To Effectively Use New Media To Collect Information?

Collecting information through blogging is central to every blog. Businesses are starting to pick up on this. Take a look at this blog by a Dutch Lawyer, for example. The use of discussion boards is also very popular, like for example the rechtenforum. It's not just citizens, but also some lawyers participating on these public discussion boards.

Blogging and participating in public discussion boards is very usefull for bussinesses, others still prefer using social media safely behind company walls, through services like yammer.

Finding relevant discussions is hard work. Trying is the best you can do as a starter.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

White Man's Burden: Affleck and Prendergast in Congress for Congo


Ben Affleck and John Prendergast in the U.S. Congress,
March 6th, 2010 to testify at a House Foreign Affairs Committee 

hearing on conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  No
Congolese or African person testified.



KPFA News Anchor Cameron Jones:  On Tuesday the House Foreign Relations Committee held a hearing on the Democratic Republic of Congo, the most lethal conflict in the world since World War II, which has continued, since the International Rescue Committee estimated, over three years ago, that more than 5.4 million people had died in the conflict, most of whom had died of hardship after being driven from their homes.   The hearing featured the testimony of actor Ben Affleck, heiress and philanthropist Cindy McCain, and John Prendergast, co-founder of the Enough Project, a foreign policy lobbying project of the Center for American Progress.  No Congolese, African, or even African American person testified. KPFA's Ann Garrison has more.  

KPFA/Ann Garrison:  Friends of the Congo's Executive Director Maurice Carney told KPFA that the absence of a Congolese or even African voice at the Congressional hearing on Congo's catastrophe was no surprise even in the age of President Barack Obama.

Maurice Carney:  It's part of a long pattern of the colonization of information.  You have experts who claim to be speaking on behalf of the Africans.

African scholars and activists Nii Akuetta, Claude
Gatebuke, Emira Wood, Jacques, Bahati, Nita Evele, and
Kambale Musavuli, the all African panelists at the
Great LakesAdvocates' Coalition March 2nd briefing on
the 2010 UN Mapping Report, which docuemtnts atrocities
committed in the Democratic Republic of Congo.  
None of them were invited  to the March 6th 

Affleck/Prendergast Congressional hearing on Congo. 
Photo credit:   Arrian Lewis
KPFA:  The African Great Lakes Advocacy Coalition had, six days earlier held a briefing on the UN Mapping Report, released on October 1, 2010, which documents mass atrocities in Congo, with an all African, including Congolese, panel. An intern from John Prendergast's ENOUGH Project was in attendance, asking questions, but, as Carney noted, none of the panel's all African speakers were invited to speak at Tuesday's hearing.

Affleck and Prendergast attributed most of Congo's violence to two militias, the Democratic Federation for the Liberation of Rwanda, on Congo's southeastern border with Rwanda, and the Lord's Resistance Army on its northeastern border with Uganda, but the African Great Lakes Advocates said that Rwandan President Paul Kagame and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, both longstanding U.S. allies, are most responsible, and that this has been abundantly evidenced in the UN Mapping Report, and many previous UN reports referenced in the Mapping Report.    

Maurice Carney,
Executive Director, Friends of the Congo
Maurice Carney:   Both the FDLR and the LRA can enroll in the Museveni and Kagame School of Mass Atrocities and get a Ph.D., because the overwhelming suffering in the region has been triggered by U.S. allies Rwanda and Uganda, led by their presidents.  So, when you have people testifying in Congress and talking about FDLR and LRA, to the exclusion of U.S. allies Rwanda and Uganda, you feel like you're in the twilight zone, lIke 'What are you talking about?'  Friends of the Congo maintains that, based on the information that these groups present, we can't help but be led to the conclusion that they're looking to cover for U.S. strategic and economic interests because their presentations are marked by two striking exclusions.  One, a discussion around Rwanda and Uganda, and two, a discussion around multinational corporations, the mining companies that are directly involved in the region. 

KPFA:  John Prendergast is most often introduced on talk shows, and in Congressional hearings, as an author and human rights advocate, neither he nor ENOUGH hide his previous employment as Director of African Affairs on Bill Clinton's National Security Council, and on the National Intelligence Council.

Ben Affleck made another celebrity appearance, last November, with Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair John Kerry, at a press conference about foreign policy in Congo at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, which is now headed by former Deputy Director of Defense John Hamre.  Again, Maurice Carney:


Former Georgia Congresswoman Cynthia
McKinney held Congressional hearings
on the Congo conflict in 2001.
Maurice Carney:   The people called in to testify are usually those who reinforce U.S. foreign policy in a particular region of the world, not those who challenge U.S. foreign policy.  So that's just the way it works in Washington unless you connect with a progressive, such as Cynthia McKinney, when she was in the Congress.  She brought in alternative views that exposed the role of U.S. foreign policy abroad.  But we've yet to find another champion like Cynthia McKinney.  

KPFA:  A partial transcript of McKinney's 2001 Congressional hearings on Congo, can be found on the website of the San Francisco Bay View Newspaper with the title "End the Conflict in Congo."  Keith Harmon Snow's essay "Ben Affleck, Rwanda, and Corporate Sustained Catastrophe" can be found on the Dissident Voice website.

For Pacifica, KPFA and AfrobeatRadio, I'm Ann Garrison.

Audio url:  http://goo.gl/fe8iz

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Ruiz Zambrano: Will The Real Expert Please Stand Up

Today in The Hague "Legal avocado" Jeremy Bierbach @basilok is attending the European expert meeting on the Ruiz Zambrano ruling which could
"potentially have huge implications on all ministries in The Hague"
Paul Streumer, president of the most active dutch immigration forum "buitenlandsepartner.nl", was told that the meeting was mostly for government officials and that he was not welcome.

In the age of crowdsourcing, cocreation and collective intelligence I would assume government officials would engage experts at buitenlandsepartner and other online immigration fora or at least acknowledge the incredibly valuable contribution of the buitenlandsepartner.nl and rechtopgezinshereniging.nl community to the debate.

Which begs the question which "experts" were invited? Judges from Dutch courts that have consistently violated the fundamental principle which led to the Ruiz Zambrano ruling? Officials at the Dutch immigration service?

Charles Forelle, Wall Street Journal and Dow Jones Team in Brussels, makes a very valuable observation when he writes:
"Gerardo Ruiz Zambrano has been at it for nearly 12 years bouncing between the Brussels Office des Étrangers and various ministries, directorates-general, councils, courts and tribunals. Granted, his case is a wee bit complicated. But it provides, in a roundabout way, an interesting look at jurisprudence of citizenship in Europe and the reach of the EU’s authority."
Ruiz Zambrano makes judges at courts across Europe, people like H.G. Lubberdink, T.M.A. Claessens, H.G. Sevenster that teach European law at prestigious universities, look like amateurs.

Dutch members of parliament have allready asked several not soo bright questions relating to the Ruiz Zambrano case. For example Raymond Knops(CDA) asking if the legal status of the parents in the EU member-state would have made any difference in the Ruiz Zambrano case. Parliament is clearly not a good place to look for expertise.

For expertise we should turn to bloggers like Max Steinbeis, who cuts to the core explaining the significance of the Ruiz Zambrano case when he writes:
"Like in the Roman empire now every citizen of an EU-memberstate, from Lissabon to Bukarest, can hold up his juridical status as citizen of the EU and tell the national authorities: Civis europaeus sum!"
Walter Blotscher, Denmark, gets even closer to the heart of the matter when he writes:
"E.U. citizenship was introduced by the 1992 Maastricht Treaty; everyone who is a national of a Member State is automatically a European citizen. It is for the individual Member State to decide for itself about nationality; but once it has so decided, then the rules about European citizenship apply. In a series of landmark cases, the ECJ has interpreted those rules very broadly, on the basis (repeated in Ruiz Zambrano) that "citizenship of the Union is intended to be the fundamental status of nationals of the Member States". In particular, Member States have to ensure that the rights of E.U. citizens are real rights, not illusionary ones."
Liam Thornton, Ireland, writes
"this judgment will have a profound effect on immigration laws in all Member States."
As stated in the Ruiz Zambrano ruling, The Court has stressed several times:
"that citizenship of the Union is intended to be the fundamental status of nationals of the member States"
Karen Berkeley, Irish Immigration Blog writes:
"The ECJ’s reasoning can be applied to all domestic law cases whereby Union citizens are seeking residence permission for their family members or dependants within their own national State."

Johann Morri, ImmigrationProf Blog writes:
"More generally, the European Court could be a landmark case on the significance, content ant theory of citizenship. Its reasoning may inspire other national or international courts faced with the following question: what does citizenship mean? What are the “core” rights and duties stemming from the status of citizen, and without which citizenship is a meaningless concept, deprived of its practical significance?"
UK discussion forum on Free Movement on the Ruiz Zambrano ruling
Another discussion forum talking about this topic.

further reading:
Interview in german with Prof. Dr. Daniel Thym about Ruiz Zambrano.
Dutch reaction of Defence for Children.
Dutch reaction of Luscuere De Jong Wassenaar advocaten.
Dutch reaction Everaert advocaten.
Dutch Thailand Forum has also noticed this important story.
Dutch Linkedin Group "Vreemdelingenrecht" is discussing the Ruiz Zambrano case.
University of Maastricht article on Ruiz Zambrano case by Anja Wiesbrock.

To translate blog content click here

Blog that collects all info about equadorian immigrants also mentions the Ruiz Zambrano case. The music won't be translated.

Romanian blog mentions Ruiz Zambrano case as well, but doesn't add it's own interpretation.

Danish website quotes Peter Vesterdorf, jurist and EU expert at the Craft Council:
"Verdict affirms that the rights of citizenship implies the right to family life."

Today (16-03-2011) we read that this same Peter Vesterdorf (one of Denmark's leading EU experts) is planning to present a case of treaty violation to the EU commission as well as reapplying for family reunification for his Russian wife:
“The Zambrano ruling has established that EU citizens have the right to live anywhere in the EU with their family, regardless of their family's nationality,” he said. “It doesn't make sense to interpret the union treaty paragraph one way for adults and another way for children. They're all citizens of the union.”
A French immigration forum makes us aware of the link to the video of the judges pronouncing the historic Ruiz Zambrano ruling.


Tunesian forum has also discovered the Ruiz Zambrano ruling.

A Dutch court has ruled a case in which a reference to the Ruiz Zambrano was made.

English blogpost on children rights and nationality in which the Ruiz Zambrano case is discussed.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

EU Arrest Ruiz Zambrano

Today in the Ruiz Zambrano ruling the court in Luxembourg states in an exasperated rebuke(reminiscent of Moses at Meribah):
"As the Court has stated several times, citizenship of the Union is intended to be the fundamental status of nationals of the Member States"
A clear reference to the Maastricht treaty which was mentioned by Advocate General Sharpston in her answer to question 1 concerning citizenship of the European Union: Can one invoke rights derived from Union citizenship merely from residence in one’s Member State of nationality?
"In 1992, the Maastricht Treaty introduced European citizenship as a novel and complementary status for all Member State nationals. By granting to every citizen the right to move and reside freely within the territory of the Member States, the new Treaty recognised the essential role of individuals, irrespective of whether or not they were economically active, within the newly created Union. Each individual citizen enjoys rights and owes duties that together make up a new status – a status which the Court declared in 2001 was ‘destined to become the fundamental status of nationals of the Member States'"
Advocate General Sharpton states further down in the opinion of Advocate General:
"124. If the Court accepts the reasoning that I have put forward in respect of question 1, this question (Question 2 concerning reverse discrimination) becomes redundant. If the Court does not follow me, however, it becomes necessary to consider whether Article 18 TFEU may be invoked to address reverse discrimination of this kind."
In other words, the claim in the press release on the website of Dutch foreign affairs that the court
"does not follow the much more radical anti-discrimination course proposed by Advocate General Sharpston"
is false (A statement that should be removed and correctted). The court in Luxemburg does not need to adress Question 2 concerning Reverse discrimination as Advocate General Sharpton points out clearly in the above statement.

Read more in my collection of interesting blogposts and links relating to the Ruiz Zambrano ruling.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Europe's Xenophobia Through Supposed Judeo Christian Values

A Guest Lecture at Maastricht University by dutch Minister Ben Knapen (CDA) for European affairs illustrates how the current Dutch government consistently places an anti-immigration BUT ALSO an anti-immigrant discourse at the top of it's priorities:
“because it is clear across Europe that societies can only absorb a certain number of immigrants with poor prospects. For too long, people have been told ‘that is the price you pay for open borders in Europe’. Understandably, they then ask themselves whether open borders create more disadvantages for them than advantages. So is it surprising that they turn their backs on Europe? That they don’t feel protected by Europe?"
The current CDA/VVD minority government rests on the parliamentary backing by the anti-immigration party PVV of Geert Wilders. The current Dutch Christian Democrats are in disarray after they lost half of their seats in june's parliamentary elections. Jan-Peter Balkenende, former prime-minister, had won several elections using his emphasis on judeo-christian values to forge an alliance between anti-Islam voters and the traditional Christian democratic electorat of protestants in the north and catholics in the south of the Netherlands.

However, large segments of the former Christian democrat electorat this time voted for Geert Wilders and his anti-immigration and anti-Islam platform. Jan-Peter Balkenende stepped down and his successor Maxime Verhagen from the catholic souther province Limburg, has formed a minority government with VVD which rests on the parliamentary support of Geert Wilders's PVV.

Judeo-Christian values, as Shlomo Sand explains, don't exist! Claiming they do was a poisonous strategy by Jan-Peter Balkenende to gain votes among xenophobic Dutch citizens.

The main reason Maxime Verhagen succeeded in convincing the Christian Democrat congress to form a government tolerated by a xenophobic political party (PVV), was precisely this political strategic emphasis on "judeo-christian values" by the former Dutch prime minister Jan-Peter Balkenende. This strategy attracted wrong people and wrong ideas to the party and to Christian Democracy in general.

As part of this xenophobic agenda the Dutch minister of immigration Gerd Leers, former mayor of Maastricht, actively advocates for violation of article 8 of the EU Convention on Human Rights the right to respect for private and family life.

His claim that limiting fundamental rights of family life of immigrants will help the integration of immigrants is clearly a sign that the current Dutch government pitches itself against core values of the EU integration project. Immigration among memberstates within the EU is an important tool in advancing further EU integration. Both European treaties and jurisprudence consistently reaffirm this view.

Attacking fundamental rights of EU citizens to family life as a political strategy is not only moral reprehensible, it's also a sign Gerd Leers does not understand the European project and more importantly it shows total lack of ideas on his part and by extension on the part of his, supposedly Christian democratic, party.

Gerd Leers and Maxime Verhagen, just like Geert Wilders both from the southern province Limburg, show that "Christian Democracy", especially it's catholic southern folksy brand, is dead. Opportunism is all that is left. Sad. I would call people like Gerd Leers and Maxime Verhagen "Christian Democrats In Name Only" (CDINO's). (BTW, I was not the first to use this term.)

Or, as TheRedMage comments on the excellent Guardian article "Has Christian Democracy reached a dead end in Europe?":
"I'd argue that most of the modern day Christian-democratic parties, the German CDU included, are now basically liberal-conservative parties, with Christian democracy becoming just a minor component of their ideology and outlook?"
In Dutch politics it's more like searching for the Christian-democratic needle in the liberal-conservative haystack.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Libyan Exodus Biblical? Europe's Million Dollar Question

Frontex does not yet know how many refugees will reach Malta. The french government, listening faithfully to far-right politician Marianne Le Pen, is urging Italy to 'Hold Back the Immigrant Wave'.

Bloggers from all sides of the debate have started writing about this issue, which European leaders are placing, cynically, at the heart of their preoccupation concerning Libya.

Read especially this great article "Libya: Europe's Outsourcing Imhuman Immigration control"

Andrew Stuttaford quote's Italy’s interior minister Roberto Maroni, from the anti-immigration Northern League, claiming
"that the number of illegal migrants into Italy from North Africa could top one million this year alone."

Franco Frattini, the Italian foreign minister, warned last week that the Libyan uprising could result in 350,000 unwanted immigrants landing on the European continent.

In 2009 the same Italian Government sent a shipment of 11,000 pistols and rifles to Libya:

"The 16.5 tonne order was packed in four sealed containers and involved about 7,500 PX4 Storm pistols, 1,900 CX4 semi-automatic rifles and 1,800 M4 Super 90 shotguns."

Martin Kreickenbaum explains the details of Europe's cynical strategy in fighting immigration from Africa:

"Since 2003, a system of refugee camps has been created in North Africa with the help of the EU. The regime of Ben Ali in Tunisia and Gaddafi in Libya have carried out the EU’s dirty work, employing the most brutal means to prevent African refugees reaching Europe. The European governments supported this and promoted it with millions of euros."

In other words, Europe is making sure African refugees remain trapped in Libya.

Libya’s Unrest Risks Major Economic Toll for Italy.

On wednesday The United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination called on the international community and the UN system to seek urgent measures to protect non-citizens, migrant populations, migrant workers, refugees and other minority groups in Libya.

Somaliland press writes today: "LIBYA: Rebels execute black immigrants while forces kidnap others".

Yesterday Human Rights Groups in The Hague expressed concern for the safety of "African minorities caught up in Libyan conflict".

Human Rights Watch's emergencies director Peter Bouckaert from Benghazi:
"If the European countries and the United States are serious about their pledges of humanitarian assistance, they should assist in getting these threatened and trapped African migrants back home," Bouckaert insisted."

In the meantime the Dutch are playing a very peculiar role, some even say the Dutch foreign minister has made a fool of himself, with three of their marines captured.

Europe's Priorities In Libya

Xenophobic reactions against sub saharan Africans occurred in 2000 in Tripoli and Zawiya and was the turning point in Ghadaffi's opportunistic and utopian experiment as wikipedia explains:
"from then onwards, Libya, being the country with the majority of immigrants among the local countries (about 1 million and a half immigrants among 5 millions and a half inhabitants, mainly distributed on the coastal area), aims at restraining and repressing irregular migrants. Libya and its policy have been supported (despite the continuous human rights violations) by the agreements on the control on irregular migrations signed together with the European countries (especially Italy)."
So when we talk about sub-saharan migrant workers to Libya we are talking about at least 20 to 25 percent of the population.
Migrant Information Source explains why so many sub-saharan migrant workers live in Libya (over 1,5 million, Tunesia has only several ten thousands):
"The air and arms embargo imposed on Libya by the UN Security Council between 1992 and 2000 played an unintended but decisive role in an unprecedented increase in trans-Saharan migration and the consolidation of migration routes and networks. Disappointed by the perceived lack of support from fellow Arab countries during the embargo, Libyan leader Muammar al-Qadhafi embarked upon a radical reorientation of Libyan foreign policy, in which he positioned himself as an African leader."
Last week I wrote: refugees trapped in Ghadaffi's Libya and today we read on the blog Modern ghana a cry for help. And I claimed:
"Europe has a heavy responsibility for the well being of refugees in Libya."
(By the way, it would probably have been better to use the term migrant workers.)
Katerina Nikolas develops this point in her article "Italy fears immigration from Africa"
:
"The European Union has been happy to overlook human rights issues in Libya in favor of arms sales, oil and gas imports, business contracts, and Libya's cooperation in helping to control immigration into Europe"

The 2008 study "inconvenient realities" by Hein de Haas, Senior Research Officer at the International Migration Institute (IMI), explains how:
"In 2004, Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi and the Libyan leader Al‐Qadhafi made a pact to stop irregular migration to Italy, with Libya allegedly agreeing to deport unauthorized sub‐Saharan migrants over Libyan territory to their origin countries and to seal off its southern frontiers. In October 2004, only a few days later, Libya accepted for the first time to readmit illegal migrants from Italy. Two months after the Libyan‐Italian agreement, the EU agreed to lift its 18‐year arms embargo on Libya, which allowed Libya to import (semi) military equipment officially destined for improving border controls. Italy financed training programmes for Libyan police officers and the construction of three detention camps for undocumented immigrants in Libya. Libya has also been collaborating closely with Italy in concerted expulsions of thousands of undocumented migrants from Italy via Libya to their alleged origin countries."

The European Council on Refugees and Exiles wrote yesterday:
"The European Union must not play a cynical, political game in protecting its borders rather than people"

The blog Badgals radio also wrote a valuable piece about these worrying developments.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

ChristenUnie, er is reden voor bezinning!

Nico Schipper, voorzitter evaluatie commissie Verkiezingen 2010, gooit er aan het eind van de avond, naar aanleiding van de "overwinning" van de ChristenUnie bij de provinciale staten verkiezingen nog even een "Saïd al-Sahaf-je" tegenaan:
"Uitslag #PS2011 #CU is zeker niet slechter dan #TK2010. Dit is een basis om met hart en ziel verder te bouwen. Het vertrouwen is er!"
@AHoogendoorn58 (curator WI ChristenUnie) waarschuwt vandaag echter voor een steek-je-kop-in-het-zand reflex, die we ook bij de vorige verkiezingsnederlaag al zagen:
"@roel_kuiper @gerardbeverdam Svp niet teveel relativeren: er is reden voor bezinning!"
Koert van Bekkum's twitter timeline (ND adjunct hoofdredacteur voor de niet-ingewijden) maakt duidelijk dat gereformeerden niet in de mood zijn om te relativeren:
"Ziedaar de eerste tweet van @georgeharinck: Wie kan mij uitleggen waarom ChristenUnie er niet in slaagt te profiteren van halveren CDA?"
Laat ik een poging doen.

De sharia discussie (sorry, ik heb niet de energie om het anders te noemen) aangezwengeld door Roel Kuiper was nou niet echt een strategisch hoogstandje getuige de reacties(zelfs zijn hardcore medestanders zouden dat moeten beamen). De reacties daarop spraken namelijk duidelijke taal:
@AHoogendoorn58
"@TijsvandenBrink @andre_rouvoet @roel_kuiper In Grondwet positief duiden wat we willen; shariaverbod in Gw is goedkope verkiezingstaal."
@henkvanrhee1 (voormalig direkteur partijbureau ChristenUnie)
"Is CU eindelijk voorbij politiek correct denken inzake islam, begint ND politiek correct te doen."
"Roel Kuiper in Trouw, eindelijk een duidelijk geluid van de CU over islam. Grondrechten voor iedereen en blokkade voor sharia. Zo moet het."
Daarmee verwijst Henk van Rhee naar de kritiek van ND hoofdredacteur @Peterbergwerff op pleidooi om anti-sharia bepaling op te nemen in de grondwet. Twitter levert altijd prachtige quote's op. Zo vatte @PeterBergwerff zijn gebrek aan enthousiasme over Roel Kuiper's anti-sharia pleidooi kort samen:
"@Annekjen @gertjansegers Omdat ik veronderstel dat CU ermee inspeelt op anti-islamsentimenten die oiv PVV hypen."
Verwijst vervolgens naar een samenvatting van kritische kanttekeningen van immer vlijtig twitterende historicus JD Snel:
"@JDSnel De sharia in de grondwet – Hoe de CU met doldwaze voorstellen de liberale rechtsstaat schaadt http://bit.ly/hO0vUf"
Koert van Bekkum, adjunct hoofdredacteur Nederlands Dagblad, was natuurlijk niet te beroerd om nog wat kolen op het vuur te scheppen:
"Na CDA hanteert ook CU anti-islam frame in definitie Nederlandse identiteit. Wilders kan dat beter, en dus spint vooral hij er garen bij 2/3"
"Goslinga en Kennedy volgen in Trouw analyse van Bergwerff (http://bit.ly/dPKZcq) van CU-claim op rechtsstaat door shariaverbod 1/3"
"James (man van CU kandidaat Simone Kennedy) legt schuld bij CDA, maar beschadigt door CU mee te nemen kandidatuur echtgenote voor senaat. Wat vindt Simone daarvan? 3/3"
Dat Henk van Rhee weinig met vrijgemaakt gereformeerden en het ND opheeft, was mij al een tijdje duidelijk, lees bijvoorbeeld dit "juweeltje" uit zijn timeline:
"Onzinonderzoek van ND over gebrek steun CU-achterban nieuwe missie. Partij is breder dan vooral vrijgemaakte ND-lezers."
Een gezellige sfeer stijgt op uit dergelijke opmerkingen van deze van Rhee. In plaats van een Islam debat (alleen het woord al) was het dus toch een interne afrekening met "tegenstanders". Je hoeft geen Jack de Vries te heten om te weten dat dergelijke praktijken onvermijdelijk tot verkiezingsnederlagen leiden.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Provinciale Staten Verkiezingen: Schuldgevoel als je niet stemt?

De redenering dat niet stemmers hun plicht verzaken of hun stem weggooien is een vaak gehoord verwijt. Ook nu circuleert een video vanaf het Tahrir plein waarbij Egyptenaren geïnterviewed worden over de lage opkomst bij de provinciale staten verkiezingen in Nederland vandaag.

Zelf vraag ik me echter af of we zo gemakkelijk kunnen zeggen dat kiezers die thuis blijven zich schuldig moeten voelen. Ook politieke partijen moeten bij zichzelf te rade gaan waarom burgers zich niet betrokken voelen bij de bewuste partijen.

Als je vindt dat jouw standpunt niet vertolkt wordt kun je twee dingen doen, je kunt verkiezingen gebruiken om de tegenstander af te straffen. Dat is één van de belangrijkste argumenten om te gaan stemmen in het westen. Of je kunt thuis blijven.

Als politieke partijen echt een sterke worteling in de samenleving nastreven, kunnen ze ook een positieve betrokkenheid bewerkstelligen. Er zijn echter maar weinig voorbeelden te vinden waarbij dit succesvol is.

Zelf denk ik dat een lage opkomst een onderdeel is van een breder phenomeen. De verantwoordelijkheid van de individuele burger hierin is maar beperkt. Wat vind jij?

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Andre Rouvoet Op Twitter

Andre Rouvoet, ChristenUnie, op twitter:

"Nog één gedachte: de bestrijders van een rechtsstatelijk alternatief voor het anti-islam populisme bewijzen Wilders een grote dienst..."

Een bekende antirevolutionaire klassieker is het boek: "calvinisme, oorsprong en waarborg van onze constitutionele vrijheden". Vandaag schrijven Roel Kuiper en Andre Rouvoet opnieuw 'Maak kernwaarden rechtsstaat glashelder' :
"Het zal de toon van het integratiedebat veranderen, de angst verdrijven, mensen steunen in hun ontwikkeling en de echte vrijheid terugbrengen."

Een Christelijke politieke partij zoekt haar rust niet in gedeelde kernwaarden (maar in haar isolement). Het antirevolutionaire beginselprogram uit 1934 verwijst niet voor niets in de inleiding naar de mythe van het Thracische koningspaar Ceyx en Alcyone dat door Aeolus in ijsvogeltjes veranderd wordt.

Als prinses Alcyone het aangespoelde lijk van Ceyx ziet stort zij in zee, maar de goden redden het koningskoppel door ze in ijsvogeltjes te veranderen. De ijsvogeltjes bouwen hun nestjes op het water, Aeolus werkt mee om nakroost van zijn dochter voor ondergang te behouden. Hij waakt zeven dagen lang. Overal mag het waaien, de golven mogen hoog gaan, de wateren mogen wild en woelig zijn, maar waar de alkyonen broeden is er rust. Vanuit de vier windstreken zijn de winden losgelaten, maar een gewapende hand houdt ze terug... "saevis tranquillus in undis", de levensspreuk van Willem van Oranje.

Op de medaille vervaardigd in Antwerpen in 1577, in opdracht van Willem van Oranje, wordt deze gedachte uitgebeeld. De enige toevoeging zijn de letters CHRS, verwijzend naar Christus, bij de zon van waar de arm de winden in bedwang houdt.

Angst is van alle tijden, de vraag is waar we rust vinden. Het benadrukken van kernwaarden of het "opkomen voor de rechtsstaat" is geen bevredigend antwoord op angst voor de Islam vanuit antirevolutionair perspectief. Het calvinisme geeft rust, ook te midden van stormwinden, woelige baren en huizenhoge golven.

In plaats van alle antwoorden te willen hebben op actuele politieke kwesties, zou ook de ChristenUnie kunnen leren van de moraal uit "The Scottie Who Knew Too Much" van James Thurber:
"It is better to ask some of the questions than to know all the answers."