Sunday, October 31, 2010

Trick or Treat

First World problems are the trick; the treat remains a mere possibility...

With thanks to a couple of my favorite nyc monsters, joey & rachel...

Thursday, October 28, 2010


The costumes and masks are real this year: the abominable Sarah-Palin-Baked-Alaska nasaling at the podium and tea-party racists holding out their pinky fingers while kicking back the beer.

Trick or treat means:
reversal of progress at the monsters' behest or the timid continuation of efforts to modernize a country in the grips of religious and ideological fundamentalism. The monsters are afraid and becoming ever more frightening. It's time to drive them out this Halloween, not only in the US, but in Germany, France, Italy, The Netherlands as well, which are only those lands that immediately occur to me where similar hate-and-fear-mongering tactics are at work these days.

In the US, the pumpkin will rot or bloom two days after Halloween.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Another Festival of Lights

Just a few snapshots of only a few sights only a few minutes from our doorstep...

Friday, October 22, 2010

A President Who Cares!

Thank you, President Obama, for these wise words and this sorely needed solace for those mocked for their sexuality. And hopefully, those whose sense of self-worth rests only on the crumbly foundation of demeaning others will consider that perhaps THEY are the ones who should be ostracized!
Moreover, Mr. Obama, it is time for you to do all possible in the federal sector to grant equal rights to LGBT citizens, especially, rescind DADT!

Here the text of Mr. Obama's brief remarks from October 21 and a video of the same...

Like all of you, I was shocked and saddened by the deaths of several young people who were bullied and taunted for being gay, and who ultimately took their own lives. As a parent of two daughters, it breaks my heart. It's something that just shouldn't happen in this country.
We've got to dispel the myth that bullying is just a normal rite of passage -- that it's some inevitable part of growing up. It's not. We have an obligation to ensure that our schools are safe for all of our kids. And to every young person out there you need to know that if you're in trouble, there are caring adults who can help.
I don't know what it's like to be picked on for being gay. But I do know what it's like to grow up feeling that sometimes you don't belong. It's tough. And for a lot of kids, the sense of being alone or apart -- I know can just wear on you. And when you're teased or bullied, it can seem like somehow you brought it on yourself -- for being different, or for not fitting in with everybody else.
But what I want to say is this. You are not alone. You didn't do anything wrong. You didn't do anything to deserve being bullied. And there is a whole world waiting for you, filled with possibilities. There are people out there who love you and care about you just the way you are. And so, if you ever feel like because of bullying, because of what people are saying, that you're getting down on yourself, you've got to make sure to reach out to people you trust. Whether it's your parents, teachers, folks that you know care about you just the way you are. You've got to reach out to them, don't feel like you're in this by yourself.
The other thing you need to know is, things will get better. And more than that, with time you're going to see that your differences are a source of pride and a source of strength. You'll look back on the struggles you've faced with compassion and wisdom. And that's not just going to serve you, but it will help you get involved and make this country a better place.
It will mean that you'll be more likely to help fight discrimination -- not just against LGBT Americans, but discrimination in all its forms. It means you'll be more likely to understand personally and deeply why it's so important that as adults we set an example in our own lives and that we treat everybody with respect. That we are able to see the world through other people's eyes and stand in their shoes so that we never lose sight of what binds us together.
As a nation we're founded on the belief that all of us are equal and each of us deserves the freedom to pursue our own version of happiness; to make the most of our talents; to speak our minds; to not fit in; most of all, to be true to ourselves. That's the freedom that enriches all of us. That's what America is all about. And every day, it gets better.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Notwendige Wiederholung // Necessary Repetition

Aus der aktuellen Debatte leite ich die Notwendigkeit ab, einen alten Aufsatz hier wieder zu verlinken. Es geht um die "Leitkultur", und sie tut mir auch sehr leid.

Übrigens tut es der Zeit auch leid, dass dieser Begriff wieder ausgegraben wurde!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Enfance et jeunesse d’un écrivain français

The new issue of L'Infini has arrived, no. 112, and contains more worth (re)reading than most bookshops.

One piece well worth it is the joint conference of Kristeva and Sollers at the Collège des Bernardins on last June 29. This link also provides audio files of the same.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

What Can Never Happen ...

Only death can conclusively happen, but it can, paradoxically, never happen to ME, as I then will no longer BE there, since my being-there is into death, but halted by it, so death can never happen to my being-there, only to my having-been-there, which is also an eternal presence, spawned not out of the past, but out of the FUTURE. It is so wonderful that we can think.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Me, Too!

Successful gay foreign, and I read a lot of books.
Erfolgreicher schwuler Ausländer, und ich lese auch viele Bücher.
Étranger pédé couronné du succès, et je lis beaucoup de livres.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Nobel Peace Prize to Liu Xiaobo

A wonderful decision for peace and human rights was made today as the Nobel Peace Prize Committee decided to award the prize this year to
Liu Xiaobo
China is now attempting to prevent its inhabitants (I refrain from calling then citizens) from learning of this wonderful honor for a Chinese dissident fighting for the rights of all Chinese people in that so-called People's Republic of commando capitalists.
He has been imprisoned again since the end of last year, and his wife received the news, is now herself subject to Chinese efforts to prevent her from communicating with the press. Ms. Liu told Agence France Presse, "I strongly ask that the Chinese government release Liu Xiaobo. I want to thank everyone for supporting Liu Xiaobo. I want to thank the Nobel committee, Vaclav Havel, the Dalai Lama and all those people that have supported Liu Xiaobo." Later, she told Reuters, "They are forcing me to leave Beijing. They want me to go to Liaoning to see Xiaobo. They want to distance me from the media."

Here is the FINAL STATEMENT Liu Xiaobo published on December 23, 2009, before he was imprisoned once more:

June 1989 was the major turning point in my 50 years on life’s road. Before that, I was a member of the first group of students after restoration of the college entrance examination after the Cultural Revolution (1977); my career was s smooth ride from undergraduate to grad student through to Ph.D.
After graduation I stayed on as a lecturer at Beijing Normal University. On the podium, I was a popular teacher, well received by students. I was at the same time a public intellectual. In the 1980s I published articles and books that created an impact, was frequently invited to speak in various places, and was invited to go abroad to Europe and the U.S. as a visiting scholar. What I required of myself was: both as a person and in my writing, I had to live with honesty, responsibility and dignity.
Subsequently, because I had returned from the U.S. to take part in the 1989 movement, I was imprisoned for “counter-revolutionary propaganda and incitement to crime,” losing the platform which was my passion; I was never again allowed publish or speak in public in China. Simply for expressing divergent political views and taking part in a peaceful and democratic movement, a teacher loses his podium, a writer loses the right to publish, and a public intellectual loses the chance to speak publicly, which is a sad thing, both for myself as an individual, and for China after three decades of reform and opening up.
Thinking about it, my most dramatic experiences after June Fourth have all linked with courts; the two opportunities I had to speak in public have been provided by trials held in the People’s Intermediate Court in Beijing, one in January 1991 and one now. Although the charges on each occasion were different, they were in essence the same, both being crimes of expression.
Twenty years on, the innocent souls of June Fourth do not yet rest in peace, and I, who had been drawn into the path of dissidence by the passions of June Fourth, after leaving the Qincheng Prison in 1991, lost in the right to speak openly in my own country, and could only do so through overseas media, and hence was monitored for many years; placed under surveillance (May 1995 – January 1996); educated through labor (October 1996 – October 1999), and now once again am thrust into the dock by enemies in the regime.
But I still want to tell the regime that deprives me of my freedom, I stand by the belief I expressed twenty years ago in my “June Second Hunger Strike Declaration” — I have no enemies, and no hatred. None of the police who have monitored, arrested and interrogated me, the prosecutors who prosecuted me, or the judges who sentence me, are my enemies. While I’m unable to accept your surveillance, arrest, prosecution or sentencing, I respect your professions and personalities, including Zhang Rongge and Pan Xueqing who act for the prosecution at present. I was aware of your respect and sincerity in your interrogation of me on December 3.
For hatred is corrosive of a person’s wisdom and conscience; the mentality of enmity can poison a nation’s spirit, instigate brutal life and death struggles, destroy a society’s tolerance and humanity, and block a nation’s progress to freedom and democracy. I hope therefore to be able to transcend my personal vicissitudes in understanding the development of the state and changes in society, to counter the hostility of the regime with the best of intentions, and defuse hate with love.
As we all know, reform and opening up brought about development of the state and change in society. In my view, it began with abandoning “taking class struggle as the key link,” which had been the ruling principle of the Mao era. We committed ourselves instead to economic development and social harmony. The process of abandoning the “philosophy of struggle” was one of gradually diluting the mentality of enmity, eliminating the psychology of hatred, and pressing out the “wolf’s milk” in which our humanity had been steeped. It was this process that provided a relaxed environment for the reform and opening up at home and abroad, for the restoration of mutual love between people, and soft humane soil for the peaceful coexistence of different values and different interests, and thus provided the explosion of popular creativity and the rehabilitation of warmheartedness with incentives consistent with human nature.
Externally abandoning “anti-imperialism and anti-revisionism,” and internally, abandoning “class struggle” may be called the basic premise of the continuance of China’s reform and opening up to this day. The market orientation of the economy; the cultural trend toward diversity; and the gradual change of order to the rule of law, all benefited from the dilution of this mentality of enmity. Even in the political field, where progress is slowest, dilution of the mentality of enmity also made political power ever more tolerant of diversity in society, the intensity persecution of dissidents has declined substantially, and characterization of the 1989 movement has changed from an “instigated rebellion” to a “political upheaval.”
The dilution of the mentality of enmity made the political power gradually accept the universality of human rights. In 1998, the Chinese government promised the world it would sign the the two international human rights conventions of the U.N., marking China’s recognition of universal human rights standards; in 2004, the National People’s Congress for the first time inscribed into the constitution that “the state respects and safeguards human rights,” signaling that human rights had become one of the fundamental principles of the rule of law. In the meantime, the present regime also proposed “putting people first” and “creating a harmonious society,” which signaled progress in the Party’s concept of rule.
This macro-level progress was discernible as well in my own experiences since being arrested.
While I insist on my innocence, and that the accusations against me are unconstitutional, in the year and more since I lost my freedom, I’ve experienced two places of detention, four pretrial police officers, three prosecutors and two judges. In their handling of the case, there has been no lack of respect, no time overruns and no forced confessions. Their calm and rational attitude has over and again demonstrated goodwill. I was transferred on June 23 from the residential surveillance to Beijing Municipal Public Security Bureau Detention Center No. 1, known as “Beikan.” I saw progress in surveillance in the six months I spent there.
I spent time in the old Beikan (Banbuqiao) in 1996, and compared with the Beikan of a decade ago, there has been great improvement in the hardware of facilities and software of management.
In particular, Beikan’s innovative humane management based on respecting the rights and dignity of detainees, implementing more flexible management of the will be flexible to the detainees words and deeds, embodied in the Warm broadcast and Repentance, the music played before meals, and when waking up and going to sleep, gave detainees feelings of dignity and warmth, stimulating their consciousness of keeping order in their cells and opposing the warders sense of themselves as lords of the jail, detainees, providing not only a humanized living environment, but greatly improved the detainees’ environment and mindset for litigation, I had close contact with Liu Zhen, in charge of my cell. People feel warmed by his respect and care for detainees, reflected in the management of every detail, and permeating his every word and deed. Getting to know the sincere, honest, responsible, goodhearted Liu Zhen really was a piece of good luck for me in Beikan.
Political beliefs are based on such convictions and personal experiences; I firmly believe that China’s political progress will never stop, and I’m full of optimistic expectations of freedom coming to China in the future, because no force can block the human desire for freedom. China will eventually become a country of the rule of law in which human rights are supreme. I’m also looking forward to such progress being reflected in the trial of this case, and look forward to the full court’s just verdict — one that can stand the test of history.
Ask me what has been my most fortunate experience of the past two decades, and I’d say it was gaining the selfless love of my wife, Liu Xia. She cannot be present in the courtroom today, but I still want to tell you, sweetheart, that I’m confident that your love for me will be as
always. Over the years, in my non-free life, our love has contained bitterness imposed by the external environment, but is boundless in afterthought. I am sentenced to a visible prison while you are waiting in an invisible one. Your love is sunlight that transcends prison walls and bars, stroking every inch of my skin, warming my every cell, letting me maintain my inner calm, magnanimous and bright, so that every minute in prison is full of meaning. But my love for you is full of guilt and regret, sometimes heavy enough hobble my steps. I am a hard stone in the wilderness, putting up with the pummeling of raging storms, and too cold for anyone to dare touch. But my love is hard, sharp, and can penetrate any obstacles. Even if I am crushed into powder, I will embrace you with the ashes.
Given your love, sweetheart, I would face my forthcoming trial calmly, with no regrets about my choice and looking forward to tomorrow optimistically. I look forward to my country being a land of free expression, where all citizens’ speeches are treated the same; here, different values, ideas, beliefs, political views… both compete with each other and coexist peacefully; here, majority and minority opinions will be given equal guarantees, in particular, political views different from those in power will be fully respected and protected; here, all political views will be spread in the sunlight for the people to choose; all citizens will be able to express their political views without fear, and will never be politically persecuted for voicing dissent; I hope to be the last victim of China’s endless literary inquisition, and that after this no one else will ever be jailed for their speech.
Freedom of expression is the basis of human rights, the source of humanity and the mother of truth. To block freedom of speech is to trample on human rights, to strangle humanity and to suppress the truth.
I do not feel guilty for following my constitutional right to freedom of expression, for fulfilling my social responsibility as a Chinese citizen. Even if accused of it, I would have no complaints. Thank you!


is a human very deserving of the Nobel Peace Prize.

In all humility, I, too, congratulate him and urge CHINA to release him from prison and restore him to full rights and allow him to publish, speak, and travel ... something that country must also allow all of it's citizens, so that they may be considered citizens.

Here the Nobel Peace Prize announcement:

The Nobel Peace Prize for 2010

The Norwegian Nobel Committee has decided to award the Nobel Peace Prize for 2010 to Liu Xiaobo for his long and non-violent struggle for fundamental human rights in China. The Norwegian Nobel Committee has long believed that there is a close connection between human rights and peace. Such rights are a prerequisite for the "fraternity between nations" of which Alfred Nobel wrote in his will.

Over the past decades, China has achieved economic advances to which history can hardly show any equal. The country now has the world's second largest economy; hundreds of millions of people have been lifted out of poverty. Scope for political participation has also broadened.

China's new status must entail increased responsibility. China is in breach of several international agreements to which it is a signatory, as well as of its own provisions concerning political rights. Article 35 of China's constitution lays down that "Citizens of the People's Republic of China enjoy freedom of speech, of the press, of assembly, of association, of procession and of demonstration". In practice, these freedoms have proved to be distinctly curtailed for China's citizens.

For over two decades, Liu Xiaobo has been a strong spokesman for the application of fundamental human rights also in China. He took part in the Tiananmen protests in 1989; he was a leading author behind Charter 08, the manifesto of such rights in China which was published on the 60th anniversary of the United Nations' Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the 10th of December 2008. The following year, Liu was sentenced to eleven years in prison and two years' deprivation of political rights for
“inciting subversion of state power". Liu has consistently maintained that the sentence violates both China's own constitution and fundamental human rights.

The campaign to establish universal human rights also in China is being waged by many Chinese, both in China itself and abroad. Through the severe punishment meted out to him, Liu has become the foremost symbol of this wide-ranging struggle for human rights in China.

Oslo, October 8, 2010

"The Nobel Peace Prize 2010 - Press Release". 8 Oct 2010

And how the Chinese attempt to prevent Liu's wife from speaking to the press after the announcement:

Les journalistes ne peuvent approcher la femme de Liu Xiaobo
Uploaded by Mediapart. - Watch the latest news videos.

L'opposant chinois Liu Xiaobo reçoit le prix Nobel de la paix 2010

Friedensnobelpreis 2010
Menschenrechtler in China nach Auszeichnung Lius festgenommen
"Dass Liu Xiaobo den Friedensnobelpreis erhält, empört Peking. Nun gab es erste Festnahmen. Die Frau Lius hat Peking verlassen. Unklar ist, ob sie dazu gezwungen wurde."
Report from Die Zeit.

It Really Does Get Better !

For any gay kids worried about how their life will develop, check out this video and the channel to provide support. "It Gets Better"
And Detlef and I are another testimony about how absolutely fantastic a life of love can be.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Twenty Years

Yes, today is the 2oth anniversary of German unification. Since midnight, 20 years ago, the GDR ceased to exist and became part and parcel of the FRG under the already existing constitution. And 20 years + of freedom to travel back and forth within this my home city of Berlin is worth celebrating, as is all the other progress that has been made.
Now, let us hope that no new enemies and slogans are used to block the people from thinking, let us hope that solidarity remains the highest principle of the social fabric of this country, let us hope that those who have more do not envy those who have less, and let us hope that those who govern do not forget who the people are they work for!

Happy Birthday, Germany...

Und, Herrn Bundespräsidenten Wulff, ich bedanke mich für Ihre Rede heute zur Einheit. Thank you for this statement, among others, in your thoughtful speech. Here the link to the speech in full, in deutscher Sprache.
Ein freiheitliches Land wie unseres - es lebt von Vielfalt, es lebt von unterschiedlichen Lebensentwürfen, es lebt von Aufgeschlossenheit für neue Ideen. Sonst kann es nicht bestehen. Zu viel Gleichheit erstickt die eigene Anstrengung und ist nur um den Preis der Unfreiheit zu haben. Das Land muss Verschiedenheit aushalten. Es muss sie wollen. Aber: Zu große Unterschiede gefährden den Zusammenhalt. Daraus folgt für mich: Vielfalt schätzen, Risse in unserer Gesellschaft schließen - das bewahrt vor Illusionen, das schafft echten Zusammenhalt.
Yes, the Federal President's speech on the 2oth anniversary of Germany positively surprised me; I am quite willing to compliment him for it.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Stop Fanaticism !

Put an end, please, finally, to fanaticism and the ranting of fanatics. The best method to halt them is to speak openly, freely, without tabus and without hatred, always in the defense of liberty and always against the coopting of the word liberty to shroud efforts to limit the freedom of others.

This is not about any particular religion, ideology, political party, but about fanatics - people who have ceased to think and simply utter phrases learned by rote that are no longer reflected. If you do not THINK, you are NOT free!

Today in Berlin, the rabble-rousing fanatic from Holland, Wilders, who would like to forbid only one religion, Islam, for its fanaticism, is to appear at a "secret" site to give a speech. Hopefully no one will make it besides those protesting against his simplistic one-sided view of the world. Would he be as adamant about the fundamentalist activities of Christians, Jews, Mormons, Janes? Or has he simply smelled the dirty backside of power, the way up through the intestines of the thoughtless masses he tries to thrill, to reach and take over their brains once and for all? Who will he put on his list for expulsion next? A thoughtful German-language analysis of his rhetoric is to be found in Die Zeit.

Oh, but that all would simply begin to think, and then all this religious, political, ideological fanaticism would disappear. Thinking means questioning. The answers are by far less important.

And for today, here is a link to find the way to oppose the "secret" speech by the crutch of the new Dutch government. (What a shame for The Netherlands!)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Democracy Is Loud!

Flemming Rose, announcing the publication of his 499-page book Tyranny of Silence on the publication of the 12 Mohammed caricatures in the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten yesterday, quite pertinently, poignantly, and accurately expressed what the whole business is about: "Words should be answered with words. That's all we have in a democracy, and if we give that up, we will be locked in a tyranny of silence."

Danish book republishes Prophet Muhammad cartoons

Perhaps reading the account of what happened after the paper published the political cartoons would help remind us what freedom of expression and thought is all about and help us to get more people to use words and art and refrain from employing weapons and violence!