Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Η δασκάλα που διχάζει

του Ηλία Κανέλλη

Τα Νέα

29 Δεκεμβρίου 2010

Η βράβευση της δασκάλας Χαράς Νικοπούλου από την Ακαδηµία Αθηνών «για τηναυταπάρνηση και την εθνοπρεπή της στάση κατά τη διάρκεια της υπηρεσίας της ως δασκάλας στο Μεγάλο Δέρειο του Νοµού Εβρου τα έτη 2004-08» είναι, επιεικώς, ατυχής. Πιθανόν, τα μέλη της Ακαδηµίας να πείσθηκαν ότι η στάση τής άλλοτε «δασκάλας του Εβρου» ήταν εθνοπρεπής από τους επαίνους που της απονεµήθηκαν σε τηλεοπτικές εκποµπές με ροπή προς τη συνωµοσιολογία και τα ΟΥΦΟ.

Στην πραγµατικότητα, βράβευσαν μια εκπαιδευτικό η οποία παρέκαµψε τα αναλυτικά προγράµµατα του υπουργείου Παιδείας, αγνόησε την ιδιαιτερότητα της μειονοτικής περιοχής και, θεωρώντας ότι αυτό είναι το πατριωτικό της καθήκον, επιχείρησε να καταργήσει την εκπαίδευση στη μειονοτική γλώσσα και, γενικώς, χώρισε τους μαθητές της βάσει γλωσσικών και θρησκευτικών διαφορών. Ενδεικτική της μεθόδου της είναι η εικόνα που εύκολα μπορεί κανείς να βρει στο Ιντερνετ, όταν την 25η Μαρτίου ένα κορίτσι της μειονότητας, η μικρή Εµινέ, είπε το «πατριωτικό» ποίηµα: «Βάλε τους Τούρκους εµπροστά / σαν τον χασάπη τα τραγιά κ.λπ.».

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Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Patriot Gays

by William Saletan

Slate
December 20, 2010

"Don't ask, don't tell" is history. The House and Senate votes to repeal it, backed by President Obama's promised signature, are a cultural milestone. But where is this revolution going? Are we abandoning moral judgments about sex, or just rethinking them?

To social conservatives, DADT's demise is a collapse of values. It's an abandonment of "character," an attempt at "reshaping social attitudes regarding human sexuality" that would "destroy the military's moral backbone." A focus group participant sums up their fear: "People view the military as the last bastion of morals and what is good. If we break that down here … What's left?" The initial worry of these groups, bolstered by the military's report on repealing DADT, is that straight, unmarried personnel will demand the same partner benefits accorded to gays.

Conservatives tend to exaggerate the slippery slope from homosexuality to anything-goes. But many of the arguments for repealing DADT, coupled with ongoing efforts to reform military sex laws, do point in that direction. During the Senate debate, Majority Leader Harry Reid and his colleagues repeatedly argued that the military shouldn't care "who you love." They called that question a matter of "personal liberty." Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif, told her colleagues that after repealing DADT, "there is more work we have to do on this whole issue. There is still a lot of unfairness in our laws—partners not being able to have the same rights as married couples. That is another whole issue we will work on."

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Saturday, December 18, 2010

Senate Repeals ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’

New York Times
December 18, 2010

Capping a 17-year political struggle, the Senate on Saturday repealed the Pentagon’s ban on gay men and lesbians serving openly in the military.

By a vote of 65 to 31, the Senate sent the bill to President Obama, who had campaigned on ending the Clinton-era policy known as “don’t ask, don’t tell,” which allows gay members of the armed forces to serve only if they keep their sexual orientation a secret. A cloture vote of 63-33 earlier in the day had indicated that there was easily enough support to push the measure to final passage. The House had passed the measure, 250 to 175, on Wednesday.

“By ending ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,’ no longer will our nation be denied the service of thousands of patriotic Americans forced to leave the military, despite years of exemplary performance, because they happen to be gay,” Mr. Obama said in a statement after the cloture vote. “And no longer will many thousands more be asked to live a lie in order to serve the country they love.”

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Η συμμαχία Χίτλερ-Στάλιν ευνόησε το Ολοκαύτωμα

της Κατερίνας Οικονομάκου

Ελευθεροτυπία

18 Δεκεμβρίου 2010

Πρόκειται για ένα από τα πιο φιλόδοξα και πολυσυζητημένα βιβλία ευρωπαϊκής Ιστορίας του 20ού αιώνα, που εκδόθηκαν τα τελευταία χρόνια. Ξανακοιτάζοντας τον Β' Παγκόσμιο Πόλεμο, ο Τίμοθι Σνάιντερ θέτει νέα ερωτήματα, κάνοντας χρήση όλων των πηγών που έχει στη διάθεσή του ο σύγχρονος ερευνητής μετά τη διάλυση της ΕΣΣΔ.

Το βιβλίο αρχίζει με μια παρατήρηση για τον χώρο και το χρόνο: ανάμεσα στη Βαλτική και τη Μαύρη Θάλασσα, ανάμεσα στο Βερολίνο και τη Μόσχα, εκτείνεται μια γεωγραφική ζώνη την οποία ο Σνάιντερ αποκαλεί «πεδία αίματος». Σήμερα αυτή η ζώνη περικλείει τη δυτική Ρωσία, τα κράτη της Βαλτικής, τη Λευκορωσία, την Ουκρανία και το μεγαλύτερο τμήμα της Πολωνίας.

«Αν εξετάσει κανείς αυτήν την περιοχή, θα διαπιστώσει ότι τα περισσότερα ναζιστικά εγκλήματα και ένα δυσανάλογα μεγάλο ποσοστό από τα σοβιετικά εγκλήματα έλαβαν χώρα εκεί και όχι κάπου αλλού», λέει ο Σνάιντερ, καθηγητής Ιστορίας στο Yale. «Η περίοδος κατά την οποία και ο Χίτλερ και ο Στάλιν είναι στην εξουσία, είναι η ιστορική στιγμή κατά την οποία σε αυτή την περιοχή έχουμε το Ολοκαύτωμα αλλά και τις μαζικότερες δολοφονίες στην ιστορία της Ευρώπης».

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Friday, December 17, 2010

Ελευθερολογία πριν και μετά το Διαδίκτυο

του Πάσχου Mανδραβέλη

Καθημερινή

17 Δεκεμβρίου 2010

Συνήθως τα έγγραφα που οι κυβερνήσεις θέλουν να μείνουν κρυφά, έρχονται στη δημοσιότητα κατά μερικές δεκάδες σελίδες. Τόσες συνήθως μπορούν να φωτοτυπηθούν και να διαρρεύσουν στον Τύπο. Οχι όμως στην εποχή της πληροφορικής τεχνολογίας. Χωρίς αυτή δεν θα μπορούσε να υπάρχει κάτι σαν το κίνημα των WikiLeaks. Για ένα απλό λόγο: 251.287 διπλωματικά έγγραφα, που ήταν η τελευταία φουρνιά, είναι αδύνατον να φωτοτυπηθούν και να μοιραστούν. Μπορούν όμως να αντιγραφούν και να αποσταλούν ψηφιακά με το πάτημα ενός κουμπιού.

Στην εποχή προ της πληροφορικής τεχνολογίας υπάρχει μόνο μια σχετικά μεγάλη διαρροή εγγράφων. Το 1967, ο υπουργός Αμυνας των ΗΠΑ Ρόμπερτ Μακναμάρα, έδωσε εντολή να αποτυπωθεί η πορεία και η κατάσταση του πολέμου στο Βιετνάμ. Το έργο των 36 αναλυτών, που πήρε την ονομασία «Εγγραφα του Πενταγώνου», απαρτιζόταν από 3.000 σελίδες ιστορικής ανάλυσης για τον πόλεμο και 4.000 επίσημα έγγραφα. Από αυτές τις 7.000 σελίδες διέρρευσε ένα μεγάλο κομμάτι κατ' αρχήν στους New York Times και κατόπιν σε 15 ακόμη εφημερίδες των ΗΠΑ.

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Margaret Thatcher: Free Society Speech (1975)

Margaret Thatcher does a spot of spring cleaning and sweeps away socialism in this early rallying speech from the Conservative Party Conference of 1975. Four years later, Thatcher would become Prime Minister and this speech bodly outlines the kind of values upheld by her government and exemplifies her commitment to the free market, a property-owning democracy and the rights of the individual.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

British Court Orders Leader of WikiLeaks Freed on Bail

New York Times
December 14, 2010

After a week in detention facing possible extradition, Julian Assange, the founder of the WikiLeaks antisecrecy group, was ordered released on $310,000 bail by a court on Tuesday as he challenges a Swedish prosecutor’s demand for his extradition to face questioning about alleged sex offenses.

Judge Howard Riddle ordered that Mr. Assange appear again in court on Jan. 11. He also said that between then and now he must reside at Ellingham Hall, a Georgian mansion in Bungay, eastern England, owned by Vaughan Smith, the founder of the Frontline Club, which is used mainly by journalists. Mr. Assange must spend every night at the mansion and will be electronically tagged so the police can track his movements, the judge said.

Additionally, Mr. Assange will be under curfew every day from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. and from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and will be required to report daily to the police from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. His passport is already with the police and, under the terms of his bail, he is not permitted to try to travel abroad.

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Focus on the Policy, Not WikiLeaks

by Ron Paul

LewRockwell.com

December 13, 2010

We may never know the whole story behind the recent publication of sensitive U.S. government documents by the WikiLeaks organization, but we certainly can draw some important conclusions from the reaction of so many in government and media.

At its core, the WikiLeaks controversy serves as a diversion from the real issue of what our foreign policy should be. But the mainstream media, along with neoconservatives from both political parties, insist on asking the wrong question. When presented with embarrassing disclosures about U.S. spying and meddling, the policy that requires so much spying and meddling is not questioned. Instead, the media focus on how so much sensitive information could have been leaked, or how authorities might prosecute the publishers of such information.

No one questions the status quo or suggests a wholesale rethinking of our foreign policy. No one suggests that the White House or the State Department should be embarrassed that the U.S. engages in spying and meddling. The only embarrassment is that it was made public. This allows ordinary people to actually know and talk about what the government does. But state secrecy is anathema to a free society. Why exactly should Americans be prevented from knowing what their government is doing in their name?

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Saturday, December 11, 2010

John Lennon vs. Bono: The death of the celebrity activist

by William Easterly

Washington Post

December 10, 2010

The recent release of the Beatles' music on iTunes, coupled with the anniversary of John Lennon's tragic death in New York City 30 years ago this past Wednesday, has brought on a wave of Beatles nostalgia. For so many of my generation, growing up in the 1960s and 1970s, Lennon was a hero, not just for his music but for his fearless activism against the Vietnam War.

Is there a celebrity activist today who matches Lennon's impact and appeal? The closest counterpart to Lennon now is U2's Bono, another transcendent musical talent championing another cause: the battle against global poverty. But there is a fundamental difference between Lennon's activism and Bono's, and it underscores the sad evolution of celebrity activism in recent years.

Lennon was a rebel. Bono is not.

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Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Liu Xiaobo Nobel Peace Prize Ceremony: China Among 19 Countries To Turn Down Invitation

Associated Press/Huffington Post
December 7, 2010

China and 18 other countries have declined to attend this year's Nobel Peace Prize ceremony honoring imprisoned Chinese dissident Liu Xiaobo, Nobel officials said Tuesday as China unleashed a new barrage deriding the decision.

Chinese officials in Beijing called Liu's backers "clowns" in an anti-Chinese farce – comments that came only three days before the Dec. 10 Nobel peace prize ceremony in Oslo.

Beijing considers Liu's recognition an attack on China's political and legal system, and says the country's policies will not be swayed by outside forces in what it calls "flagrant interference in China's sovereignty."

Liu, 54, is serving an 11-year sentence on subversion charges brought after he co-authored a bold call for sweeping changes to China's one-party communist political system known as Charter 08.

Countries that have turned down an invitation to Friday's ceremony include Chinese allies Pakistan, Venezuela and Cuba, Chinese neighbors such as Russia, the Philippines and Kazakhstan, and Chinese business partners such as Saudi Arabia and Iran.

Other countries not appearing at the Oslo City Hall ceremony include Ukraine, Colombia, Egypt, Sudan, Tunisia, Iraq, Vietnam, Afghanistan, Serbia and Morocco.

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The Death of Neoconservatism: Six Questions for C. Bradley Thompson

by Scott Horton

Harper's Magazine

December 2010

C. Bradley Thompson, a political science professor at Clemson University, has recently teamed up with Yaron Brook to write Neoconservatism: An Obiturary for an Idea, a classical-liberal critique of the neoconservative movement. The book systematically examines the economic, political, and cultural underpinnings of neoconservatism, exploring its relationship to the philosophy of Leo Strauss and its influential and menacing ideas about warfare. I put six questions to Thompson about the book:

1. At the core of your book is the notion that neoconservatism is dead. But consider that Politico recently published an analysis of Obama’s Middle East policies in which ten of eleven persons quoted were neocons (the eleventh was a Palestinian). The Washington Post’s editorial page is rapidly becoming a neocon fortress. Is it really time to talk about the “death” of neoconservatism?

The short answer is both “no” and “yes.” The neocons still dominate the conservative think-tank world, and they are a major presence in the media. They play a major role in defining the ideas of the conservative intellectual movement and the policies of the Republican Party. On one level, they are far from irrelevant and must be taken seriously.

Why then an obituary? The title plays off the title of one of Irving Kristol’s most important essays, “Socialism: An Obituary for an Idea,” which was as much prognostic as it was diagnostic. Professional obituarists also often write the biographical parts of a death notice long before their subjects die. Our book, then, should be read as prolegomena to any future obituary. We also hope our obituary for neoconservatism serves, paradoxically, as the murder weapon as well. Readers might imagine Charlotte Corday writing and publishing Marat’s obituary as she traveled to Paris.
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Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Conditions Deplored for Migrants Being Held in Greece at Turkish Border

New York Times
December 7, 2010

While Frontex, the European Union border agency, has sent a special force to close the Greek-Turkish land border to illegal immigration, a human rights group visiting the area said on Monday that they had found more than 800 migrants being held in “inhumane” conditions in Greece, with 120 minors including 9 girls locked up in one overcrowded facility containing 450 people.

Greece’s northeastern land border has become a big crossing point for economic migrants and refugees trying to enter the European Union now that sea routes to Italy and Malta have been closed. In October, Greece requested help from Frontex, which on Nov. 2 sent 175 agents, a helicopter and detector equipment to the region to halt the arrivals.

Gil Arias Fernández, deputy executive director of Warsaw-based Frontex, said in Athens last week that migrant numbers had dropped by 44 percent since the operation began, with 4,720 people intercepted in November compared with 7,586 the previous month; 13 smugglers had been arrested, too.

But members of Human Rights Watch, a Washington-based rights body, issued a statement in Brussels on Monday saying that they had found Afghans, Eritreans, Iraqis, Algerians, Syrians, Iranians and Moroccans in “degrading” conditions at four of the five detention centers along the border, and that Frontex could not “turn a blind eye to the humanitarian crisis for migrants in the Greek border region.”

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Monday, December 6, 2010

Εικόνες ντροπής από τη κράτηση μεταναστών στον Έβρο καταγράφει η Human Rights Watch

Το Βήμα
6 Δεκεμβρίου 2010

Τους «υπερπλήρεις χώρους κράτησης» των αλλοδαπών στον Έβρο, τις κακές συνθήκες υγιεινής και τους τρόπους πίεσης για να μην υποβάλλονται αιτήσεις για πολιτικό άσυλο καταγράφει η διεθνής οργάνωση Human Rights Watch σε έκθεσή της υπό τον τίτλο «Ελλάδα: Τέλος στις Απάνθρωπες Συνθήκες Κράτησης για τους Μετανάστες».

Η οργάνωση συστήνει στις ελληνικές Αρχές να μεταφέρουν άμεσα στο άδειο κέντρο κράτησης στη Σάμο τους αλλοδαπούς που βρίσκονται στους υπερπλήρεις χώρους κράτησης στον Έβρο ενώ κρούει τον κώδωνα κινδύνου για τα 120 ασυνόδευτα ανήλικα που κρατούνται για εβδομάδες στο Κέντρο Κράτησης Φυλακίου από Αφγανιστάν, Ερυθραία, Ιράκ, Αλγερία, Συρία, Ιράν, Μαρόκο.

Συγχρόνως, συστήνεται η κατάσταση στην Ελλάδα να τεθεί ως επείγον θέμα στη προσεχή διάσκεψη των υπουργών Εσωτερικών στις Βρυξέλλες στις 9 και 10 Δεκεμβρίου.

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Greece: End Inhumane Detention Conditions for Migrants

Human Rights Watch
December 6, 2010

Greek officials should immediately transfer migrants from overcrowded and inhumane detention sites in the Evros region to an empty facility on Samos Island and protect the 120 unaccompanied migrant children among them, Human Rights Watch said today. These migrants have crossed into Greece from Turkey in recent weeks and months, and come from countries such as Afghanistan, Eritrea, Iraq, Algeria, Syria, Iran, and Morocco.

The number of migrants arriving in northern Greece from Turkey has risen dramatically in 2010. They include asylum seekers, unaccompanied children, single women, and families with young children. Human Rights Watch conducted research in the northern region of Greece during the first week of December and witnessed conditions so overcrowded that detainees cannot even lie down to sleep. Women and children are crammed in cells with men. Toilet facilities are so limited that guards sometimes escort detainees to defecate and urinate in nearby fields. These conditions clearly risk the health and safety of detainees, and constitute inhuman and degrading treatment, in violation of binding international law, Human Rights Watch said.

"Authorities told Human Rights Watch last year that they transferred migrants from the islands to the north to prevent overcrowding." said Simone Troller, senior researcher with Human Rights Watch. "But now they need to respond to the overcrowding in the north, which is creating dangerous, unhealthy conditions."

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