Montag, Dezember 29, 2008
CONTINUED ESCALATION IN AND AROUND GAZA
I am deeply alarmed by the current escalation of violence in and
around Gaza. This is unacceptable.
I have been repeatedly condemning the rocket attacks by Hamas
militants against Israel. While recognizing Israel’s right to defend
itself, I have also condemned the excessive use of force by Israel in
Gaza. The suffering caused to civilian populations as a result of the
large-scale violence and destruction that have taken place over the past
few days has saddened me profoundly.
The frightening nature of what is happening on the ground, in
particular its effects on children -- who are more than half of the
population -- troubles me greatly. I have continuously stressed the need
for strict observance of international humanitarian law.
I am also pained at the death, injury and damage to United Nations
personnel and premises as well as to others associated with our
All this must stop. Both Israel and Hamas must halt their acts of
violence and take all necessary measures to avoid civilian casualties. A
ceasefire must be declared immediately. They must also curb their
Only then can dialogue start.
I think regional and international partners have not done enough.
They should do more. They should use all possible means to end the
violence and encourage political dialogue, emphasizing peaceful ways of
Arab Foreign Ministers are going to meet soon in emergency
session. I urge them to act swiftly and decisively to bring an early end
to this impasse. At the same time, other world leaders must also step up
efforts to support a longer term resolution of the issue.
During the past few days, I have spoken to the principals of the
Quartet, to regional leaders including Prime Minister Olmert, Foreign
Minister Livni, President Abbas, President Mubarak, President Assad,
Prime Minister Siniora, Prime Minister Erdogan and Secretary-General of
the League of Arab States, Amre Moussa, and to a number of other
leaders, in order to underscore the need to restore calm in full. I
shall continue these efforts personally as well as through my envoys in
I reiterate my call that unhindered access should be ensured for
the delivery of humanitarian assistance. The United Nations, through
the United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process
[UNSCO], United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees
in the Near East [UNRWA] and other agencies on the ground have been in
continuous contact with all relevant authorities and mobilizing
themselves to provide much needed assistance and alleviate civilian
I expect all parties to fully heed my call. In particular, Israel
must keep opening all border crossings necessary for the continued
provision of humanitarian supplies. Israeli Government leaders have
given me a guarantee that such supplies and personnel would be allowed
entry into Gaza. This cooperation must continue on a rolling basis in
the coming days.
My colleagues, John Holmes, Under-Secretary-General of OCHA
[Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs] in New York, and
Karen Abu Zayd, Commissioner General of UNRWA and Maxwell Gaylard,
Humanitarian Coordinator, UNSCO, through video links, can provide a
further update on the humanitarian situation and our work in the area.
Thank you for your support.
New York, 29 December 2008.
Samstag, Dezember 27, 2008
I don't care who started what when and why. history will never let this place come to quiet, and all involved have failed miserably.
I'm tired of sarcasm and cynicism as well. as it is not possible anymore to close my eyes, I retreat into myself. just, I lost faith in the saying "the first peace with yourself. the second with your neighbour. the third among nations" -
but then again, I have received a wonderful compliment today. I am blessed with many friends and wonderful family, and I am having a great life. I am happy. and today a friend told me in an email, "each mission leaves you with new stars in our constellation/galaxy. like you."
thanks to the many stars in my life. I adore every one of you.
Mittwoch, Dezember 10, 2008
thanks to Peter on the road to the horizon for the link!!
UPDATE: I am on 834 per game now. gotta stop this. btw, am going to las vegas next week!! am somehow scared at my ability to control myself when gambling.....
Donnerstag, Dezember 04, 2008
this is what I found out using the Gender Analyzer site that Phil from Prac's Blog found somewhere in the world wild web :-) come on Hafez and Worldman and Travel Peter, try your blogs as well. guess with all the articles that Hafez is posting it will be a male outcome...
yeah, how do they want to determine it anyway? style of writing? short speech? being to the point? or even the amount of swear words vs. romantic expressions? I guess then I scored high on the male balance with my last post on Deadwood, though this serie has a beautifully crafted baroque language that is seeking its equal to day... ah I still fall miles short in my attempt to fuckin' brushing up my lingo.
btw, Phil, don't worry. Obama will do a fine job. McCain would have done a fine job as well. both are people that reach out over party boundaries, and both are end of the day not that different in policies - McCain never having been a typical Republican. too bad he chose such a horrible running mate... but anyway, time passes, challenges arise, and it is the job of more than one person to put things right. too bad that one person can fuck up quite a lot on his/her own, though.
good night, and good luck!
I can't believe it! Hafez got a 50% result, saying his blog is gender neutral, while Travel Peter gets 60% female and Worldman 63% female!!! now what is going on here? either the gender analyzer is screwed, or, I'm the only one with balls around here!!!
Dienstag, Dezember 02, 2008
this post is about above band of cocksuckers. ha! I just LOVE Al Swearengen. and I love all characters because none of them is a classic flawless hero...
apart from the fact that it isn't TV, it's HBO.... it's also gritty, dirty and foul-mouthed. this is good stuff. I took below from a blog called Vivid Verdicts, kudos for a good synopsis!!
so, Bene, Peter, Peter and Hafez. if you want to know what I am doing, I am working during office hours (or less), go to gym almost daily for at least an hour (this is the most scary habit I've ever acquired in my life), I quit smoking without realising it, but to make it up and not become too much of a saint, I deeply immerse into TV series. Rome, The Wire, The Office, 24, Sopranos, Six Feet Under is all GREAT. but the absolute star is the following:
For fans of: The Godfather, Shakespeare, Robert Altman, The Sopranos, 19th-century literature (...and in pumuckls' opinion: adventure, Wild West, Calamity Jane, Wild Bill Hickok, Zane Grey and strong language...)
What’s it about? A period drama set in the real town of Deadwood, South Dakota in the late 19th century, created by David Milch (NYPD Blue). Although easily labelled as a Western due to its setting, Deadwood has precious few shootouts and no taciturn, upright heroes, except for deeply flawed ones. Rather, it’s a nigh Shakespearean character drama about the creation of communities and the birth of modern America.
Who’s in it? Timothy Olyphant (Live Free or Die Hard), Ian McShane (Sexy Beast), Molly Parker (The Centre of the World), Brad Dourif (The Lord of the Rings), Keith Carradine (Nashville), Powers Boothe (Tombstone), and many, many more.
Why it’s great: In its three seasons, Deadwood never fell into the repetitious trap of The Sopranos. The transition of Deadwood from outlaw camp to fledgling town demanding order of itself means that the show and the power relations of its characters had to fundamentally change, best embodied in the legendary performance of Ian McShane as saloon owner and unofficial town overlord Al Swearengen (pumuckl comment: yes!! yes!!! YES!!!), who begins the series as a Western villain but transforms into one of the most nuanced and sympathetic misogynist powermongers ever to grace the screen. Swearengen is out for himself, but is deeply invested in the camp in ways he can’t fathom, and will protect it from incursions and ally with former enemies to do so. Is it pride, or unquenchable human compassion?
The entire cast is sublime, from Molly Parker’s resourceful but haunted Alma Garrett to William Sanderson’s marvellously greasy E.B. Farnum. And despite the renowned language and violence in Deadwood - no show has ever sworn this much, so be warned - it is actually a warm, deeply moral show and hardly a boy’s own affair. This is not David Chase’s stark Sopranos vision of today’s world, explored through its reprehensible though fascinating characters. There are moments of aching poignancy amid Deadwood’s coarseness – a mother desperately running for one last look at her dead son; Swearengen’s guarded inferences about his horrific upbringing - and no show or film has arguably made swearing sound as beautiful as it does here. The baroque, majestic dialogue, littered with profanities, is finer than any television series in history – it’s hard to imagine how the writers had time to consistently craft lines of such profundity. It’s said that every episode of Deadwood must be watched at least twice – once for the story and characterisation, and once just to bask in the language.
Deadwood is a transcendent gem that has scared many off with its harsh and grotty exterior. In truth, you won’t find a more enriching and transporting series. If this were literature, it would have won the Booker, and it’s riveting too.
How much is there? Three seasons of 12 one-hour episodes are all available on DVD. More were planned, but HBO controversially scrapped them due to expense (this has since looked foolish as it was one of their highest-rated shows after The Sopranos, and nothing has come close since). They then promised two TV movies to wrap up the storylines to appease fan and critical outrage but eventually reneged on their word. Thankfully, the resolution is still somewhat satisfying.
Give season one at least 5 episodes before you pass judgement. The first episode barely resembles what’s to come.
Montag, Dezember 01, 2008
but before that, I just want to half-share a little mean joy of mine.
sometimes, there are persons you are working with that you just don't like. you don't appreciate. some slick arrogant self-righteous people that shine at aperos and are always funny, but in truth are just seriously immature.
if that person is advancing in the same workplace, you just wonder 'why is it nobody sees that s/he is actually not bloddy doing anything but just riding opportunities and making friends with influential people?!'
but sometimes, gloriously, things turn. something happens. the slick arrogant bastard cannot hide incompetence behind jokes anymore. and does NOT get the job.
it feels so fuckin' good. I'm not even trying to justify it saying it's better for organization etc, I just so much enjoy someone not getting what s/he does not deserve. period.
Freitag, November 14, 2008
and also made me discover a great quote:
"LIFE CONSISTS OF WHAT A MAN IS THINKING OF ALL DAY"
have a beautiful life. it's your choice!
Donnerstag, November 13, 2008
Dienstag, November 11, 2008
Sonntag, November 09, 2008
Donnerstag, Oktober 30, 2008
Dienstag, Oktober 28, 2008
Sonntag, Oktober 26, 2008
instead of being politically correct, I just admit publicly that I think this guy who is being interviewed is absolutely HOT. super gorgeous and fantastic in his calm manner when fighting breaks out... and admirable for his cool analysis of the situation.
it is proof once again - we all know it, yet it strikes you again and again - it is ordinary civilians like you and I suffering in such situations. nowhere to move. no way out. no safety.
"we are like a target now"
I've been feeling great all this week in New York, but somehow everything in the US seems a bit unreal to me. All the things one can do here. The fuss that is being made over little issues. the drama around behaviour and morals. a guy having killed his wife and kids and himself after losing all his money at the stock market.
it's difficult to accept all these realities as co-existent, all real, all of the same importance. no wonder God - if there is something like it - does not really care to change much on the world. After all, it is all minor issues if you compare it with the wider universe.
I guess I just need a quantum of solace ;-)
thanks Peter for letting me discover hundreds of interesting posts on your side, incl. above video!
Mittwoch, Oktober 22, 2008
"we came with a smile, we left with a smile"
and then losing all pictures because on home leave in Switzerland, some bloody Swiss thief snatches my handbag with my camera inside. what to do. it is all there, in my mind :-)
Samstag, August 30, 2008
but somehow, when you read all the speeches in one go - Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama, Joe Biden - it makes you want to puke that apparently all that human beings achieve in their life, the most important thing, is to reproduce yourself and watch your kids reproduce again, repeating the same woes and worries and conflicts all along.
is that it?
then it would not be a big loss to extinct mankind from this planet.
Freitag, August 22, 2008
pix are available on facebook. hafez, open up a facebook account....
Freitag, August 15, 2008
very different reactions from friends and colleagues. some envy me, some are happy for me, some are proud to see that I succeed, others are concerned, some are downright scared.
preparations are more or less done, I don't know how much money to take with me, but I've been to the dentist and got two things fixed (last minute, right - when did I ever go to the dentist without being forced?!?), also medical checks and just packing.
packing for one to three months. not easy, but not hard either. after all I'm going to the field. jeans and t-shirt. and I fly business, for a horrendous price. but am so much looking forward to a beautiful relaxed pampered flight over the atlantic.
otherwise, I've been impressed by myself. my director came back from leave and "picked my brain" on Georgia - and I came up with some answers, analysis and comments that were actually really good (I realised when listening to me ;-)
not sure how often I have time in Tbilisi for the blog. I commit to be on facebook, but hope to have time to write a little as well. of course - security permitting. welcome back to the real world.
gosh I'm so happy!
Montag, August 11, 2008
Publisher: The Spectator
Author: Justin Marozzi
Story date: 10/08/2008
The genocide publicised by movie stars is over, says Justin Marozzi. What must now be resolved is a civil war with unlimited breakaway factions — and Hollywood cannot help
It wasn't the gleaming black helicopter parked on Second Avenue that raised eyebrows. New Yorkers barely blink at such a routine form of transport.
No, passersby were more taken by the improbable banner hanging from its tail: 'SEND ME TO DARFUR'.
Last week's publicity stunt in Manhattan, in which a Robinson R44 helicopter was symbolically presented to the United Nations, was organised by the Save Darfur Coalition, the organisation that has done more than any other to keep the issue of Darfur alive. The event marked the first anniversary of UN Security Council resolution 1769, which created the joint UN-African Union peacekeeping mission Unamid, and coincided with a report revealing how the international community has betrayed it by failing to provide the manpower and materiel it needs.
The Darfur lobby has heavyweight support.
Archbishop Desmond Tutu, President Jimmy Carter and Graça Machel, among others, have all supported this latest report, endorsed by more than 30 human rights groups, think tanks and NGOs, including the ubiquitous Save Darfur Coalition.
George Clooney, the most bankable Hollywood star of his generation, is also big on Darfur. 'Many governments have offered expressions of concern, but few have offered the most basic tools necessary to keep civilians safe and for peacekeepers to do their job, ' he says. 'It is time for governments to put their helicopters where their mouths are.' He's quite right. Unamid needs helicopters, not to mention another 16,000 peacekeepers.
The failure of the international community to live up to its promises is shameful. The problem is, Darfur has become an emotive campaign in which awkward truths — not least that the genocide is over — have become hostage to a more superficially exciting story.
There are few causes more hip than Darfur these days. Darfur is to the Noughties what HIV was to the Eighties and rainforests were to the Nineties. Inevitably, Hollywood is in on the act, adding its inimitable mélange of glamour, outrage and oversimplification.
Earlier this year, Steven Spielberg, having warned the Chinese president of his concern over the government of Sudan's policy in Darfur 'which is best described as genocide', withdrew as an artistic adviser to the Beijing Olympics. Apart from Clooney, other stars such as Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Matt Damon, Bono and Mia Farrow have all made commendable efforts to draw the world's attention to Darfur, publicising a stark and heart-rending narrative. The problem is, the narrative they are peddling is five years old.
The conflict has moved on.
The mass slaughter took place in 2003–2004, when the conflict was superficially explained as Arab nomad versus black African farmer, a fight for land and water. This was when we first heard about the Janjaweed, the governmentsupported assassins on horseback responsible for the killings, burnings and rapes. The UN has estimated that 300,000 Darfurians may have died as a result of the conflict. Khartoum claims an implausible 10,000.
The relative simplicity of those days has long gone. In 2006, there were two main rebel movements sitting at the negotiating table in Abuja: the Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) and the Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM). Today, in a development wearily familiar to Monty Python fans (think all-out fight between the People's Front of Judea, the Judean People's Front, the Judean Popular People's Front and the Romans), they have split into as many as 30.
Take your pick from SLM-Minni, SLMUnity, SLM-Mother, SLM-Free Will, SLMPeace, the United Revolutionary Front, JEM, JEM-Peace, JEM-Unity, to name only the better known. Apart from government versus rebels, the conflict now pits Arab versus Arab, African versus African, rebel versus rebel, bandits versus civilians and aid workers, Janjaweed versus peacekeepers, Sudan versus Chad. In short, the rebels have become a major part of the problem, but Hollywood and the Darfur lobby don't seem to have caught on. Their story is a lot simpler: nasty government versus good-guy rebels.
Given that we live in an age when information has never been so readily and widely available, the level of misinformation about Darfur in 2008 is little short of extraordinary. When I met the correspondent of a highly respected American newspaper during a three-month stint in Khartoum and Darfur this summer, I was amazed when he told me his editor had asked him blithely to 'Give us an update on how the genocide is going'. The Save Darfur Coalition homepage includes a button asking 'Is your mutual fund funding genocide?' The question is posed by Divest for Darfur, a campaign targeting 'companies that help fund genocide in Darfur'. No one appears to have told any of these people that the genocide is over. What remains is a highly complicated, extremely brutal, low-intensity civil war.
It is arguable that rather than help end this hideous conflict, groups like the Save Darfur Coalition and GenocideInDarfur. net ('Learn How YOU Can STOP the Violence Complete Anti-Genocide Directory') have unwittingly helped prolong it.
The exclusive focus on bashing the government has emboldened the rebels, encouraging them to keep up the fight and shun the negotiating table. The peace process, as a result, has collapsed. Though uncontroversial among seasoned Sudan watchers, such a view is politically incorrect in the West, where the debate has been held in the shadows of a glossy campaign long on sentiment and outrage, short on measured analysis.
As Julie Flint, co-author of Darfur: A New History of a Long War, writes on the excellent blog Making Sense of Darfur, 'In the current hyper-moralized debate over Sudan, anyone who questions Sudan's critics risks being called an apologist for Khartoum.' You don't have to be a fan of Khartoum to ask whether Hollywood has got it wrong.
Personally, I think the government of President Omar al Bashir stinks. I watched a Sudanese official from the infamous Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC) respond to charges that rape has been used as official policy by saying that rape was a Western concept. HAC falls under the brief of Ahmed Harun, minister of state for humanitarian affairs. Last year, the International Criminal Court (ICC) issued an arrest warrant for Harun on 42 counts of war crimes and crimes against humanity. In June, I listened to the straight-faced governor of North Darfur tell a visiting Security Council delegation to Al Fasher that the humanitarian situation was 'very stable'. Never mind about the additional 150,000 refugees created in the first four months of 2008. Forget the World Food Programme having to cut by 50 per cent its food distribution to refugees because of the deteriorating security situation. It was all a Western conspiracy against Sudan.
Although the Darfur lobby has run one of the slickest media campaigns of modern times, there is a chance, however slim, that the ICC prosecutor's move last month to indict the Sudanese president for war crimes, crimes against humanity and genocide will succeed where several years of Hollywood-led advocacy has failed. Reports from Khartoum indicate that with his back to the wall, the president may throw himself into finding a solution to this intractable conflict to stave off a full-blown indictment. Weirdly, against all the odds, it may yet be Bashir, the would-be war criminal, who brings peace to Darfur.
Incidentally, the Robinson R44 helicopter would be completely useless in Darfur.
Unamid needs gunships, not four-seater civilian runarounds, but don't let the facts spoil a good Hollywood drama
Freitag, August 08, 2008
trying not to get caught up in propaganda.... never has been easy, never will. I heard two different but both valid opinions already about the happenings in Georgia.
one says, now we will see who runs Russia, Medvedev or Putin (though I'm not exactly sure how we are supposed to see that). it talks about Russia making a power play.
the other opinion said, hey, when Serbia sent troops into Kosovo (a somewhat similar situation with a breakaway region who wants to be independent), people congratulated the US for liberating them. why not congratulating the Russians, then?
there will be more voices and opinions, I'm sure. in the meanwhile, I think of my colleagues in Georgia. Four of them I know very well, and two of those four are Georgians, with family and friends. One is from South Ossetia. She is safe in Tbilisi for the time being, but her family is in the midst of war. And well, how long Tbilisi is safe in the era of planes and bombs and attractive targets such as international airports, on verra. :-(
Mittwoch, August 06, 2008
in case you have not heard it yet (kinda likely, I don't think it will make big headlines) - there was a coup in Mauretania, some sacked military officers took revenge. the whole thing happened in a non-bloody way fortunately, but well, it speaks volumes about democratic elections.
it makes you laugh, though, to read statements of UN, AU, African government officials. The best is the following, I think:
"Previous coups inNicely put, Ruairi Patterson, Analyst, of the Control Risks Group. Somehow I just wonder, did you have a late night last night or are you always that dry? or maybe you've just been watching this world for too long - same old story, really :-)
have been bloodless although this is against a democratically elected government... It may have more impact on the security environment than previous ones. In terms of economic policy, while it is too early to say anything definitive, I can't see it leading to a major reorientation. Foreign investment there is mainly oil and mining companies and a lot of them have seen this before. But it is disappointing and will not help sentiment towards Mauritania , which had been pretty positive up until around half way through last year. In terms of aid, it may imperil aid from foreign institutions at least in the short term. I can't see this going down very well with the European Union. It will depend in part on if and how quickly civilian power is restored. In terms of democratization in the region it is disappointing but I can't see it making much difference in terms of sentiment towards other countries. There were rumors about two weeks ago that might be a coup in the offing. It was a bit of an open secret that two senior military commanders were fanning this split within the ruling party. In the last few days there had been rumors they had decided to pull back but the president's decision to dismiss two senior generals appears to have prompted the coup." Mauritania
sometimes even problems that could be solved.
and thanks to all the others thinking of me caringly on my birthday. it was a lovely feeling, realising how many friends and great people there are in my life. all over the world. in real world, from work, from travel, from blogosphere. thanks to everyone!
and now enough shmooze. gotta work on my sarcasm again, before I lose it completely!
Sonntag, August 03, 2008
and can you imagine? it looks like I'm gonna spend the evening with a guy who has boyfriend potential!! not the usual hook-up and man-hunt thing (which I truly enjoy, and I'm good at playin' the game)... but this one is more serious and mature and everything. the downside is the 23 years age difference. given that I'm 32, maybe that's rather just potential for a great summer....
now should one or should one not analyze and think about things like this at that stage? or at what stage, then?
Dienstag, Juli 29, 2008
but I realised lately, as a friend of mine got a positive test result, that HIV itself is almost "like diabetes" - very common for the treatment. I have no clue about the practical aspect of the treatment. how many pills you take, how many different kind of pills there are, how long it can take to find the right one for you and the nasty possible side effects. you see, am learning.
and the other thing that shocked me - 106 countries on this world have special procedures and rules for people living with HIV wanting to travel to their country. As a tourist it is less of a problem, but if you want to stay for more than a month - for language studies, as a student, for a traineeship, for work, for a living - you might have to show a test with your HIV status. and people living with HIV, they usually do not get a permit to enter the country.
but to add even more of eyebrow raising news to this - in some countries, if the HIV infected person has already crossed the border, they will get deported.
countries deporting foreigners with HIV are the following:
- North Korea
- South Korea
sometimes, people go to countries for work. slave-like work, even. if they get a positive test result, not only are they denied treatment at times, but they will be deported. there were cases of people dying while waiting in custody for being deported.
there is no focal point/central agency collecting such data, analysing such cases, or just having the latest up-to-date information of countries and their legal system in this regard.
this is a cutting point of migration, human rights and also tourism. wonder how long it takes until this discrimination will be discovered and go up the agenda.
check it out: http://eatg.org/hivtravel
Montag, Juli 28, 2008
(and now that I successfully pissed off most of the readers of this blog, on to the topic of the day lol)
to gain access to people that are usually out of reach or not interested into the work of the UN, so-called "goodwill ambassadors" are providing this link. there are many of them, usually actors and other public figures that chose an agency to work for. most of them choose UNICEF - it just has the most cute mandate and who would not want to help a child? UNHCR has a less sexy mandate - refugees and asylum seekers are not high on the popularity list.
even more commendable therefore the engagement of Angelina Jolie and, since about a week, spanish popular entertainer Jesus Vazquez... and in South Korea another VIP just joined this honorable circle: Robot Taekwon V!
I don't know what you think about this. I doubt a little about the sanity of this world; and it makes me somewhat sad that even animation characters are not allowed to stay in their niche and live a simple happy life...
Freitag, Juli 25, 2008
Source: The Washington Post | Publish date: 23 Jul 2008
By Michael Gerson, The Washington Post
KIGALI, Rwanda – Cindy McCain's first visit to this country, in 1994, was during the high season of roadblocks and machetes and shallow graves.
Following a call for help from Doctors Without Borders, McCain had assembled a medical team with the intention of setting up a mobile hospital in Rwanda. Arriving by private plane in mid-April, a couple of weeks into the massacres, she realized that the chaos made deploying her team impossible. At the airport, she paid for the use of a truck and set out for Goma in then-Zaire, where hundreds of thousands of refugees were also headed.
"I never saw anyone harmed," McCain recalls, "but I saw the bodies along the roadside." Checkpoints were manned by 12- and 13-year-olds with AK-47s. "The kids were drinking – bottles of Guinness, I remember. They would point their guns at you. They wanted money. We paid." Along the way, she picked up several abandoned young people, later turned over to the care of an Irish charity.
"You could see the chaos, hear the shots, hear the screaming. You could smell it." What, I asked her, could you smell? "The smell of death," she replied.
Arriving across the border in Goma, in what is now Congo, McCain found cholera victims stacked beside the road "like highway barriers." "I remember having to step over the decomposing body of an infant, covered with white powder, lime I guess, to get into one building." The field hospital covered four acres. McCain's team provided primary care for sick and frightened refugees, many of them suffering from dehydration. For nearly a month, McCain organized deliveries of food and water for the operation, collecting supplies at the Goma airport.
"I have never seen anything like it before," she says, "and never since.... When I came home, I couldn't put it into words for my husband."
The rushing return of these memories came on Cindy McCain's first visit to Rwanda since the genocide. In the shadow of Barack Obama's world tour, McCain joined a bipartisan delegation – including former Senate majority leaders Bill Frist and Tom Daschle – organized by the ONE Campaign, a group that advocates for the fight against global poverty and disease. (I am also involved in the efforts of ONE.)
McCain came back to a very different Rwanda – peaceful, well governed, and making, with American help, some of the most rapid progress in the history of public health. "What has struck me," says McCain, "is that most people are reconciling. A woman I met was gang-raped [during the genocide], her throat was slit, she lost her whole family, but was willing to forgive. The reason this will be a successful country is the women – some of the strongest, most inspiring women I have ever met."
Given her history of humanitarianism, these adjectives might be associated with McCain herself. The election of her husband would also bring to the White House an adventurous, traveled, intriguingly fearless first lady. Over the years, McCain has taken medical services to a Sandinista stronghold after Nicaragua's civil war; set up a mobile hospital near Kuwait City while the oil wells still burned from the Persian Gulf War; helped in Bangladesh after a cyclone. And while in that country in 1991 she found her daughter Bridget in an orphanage – "She really picked me," McCain insists. Sometimes the desire to save every child is properly concentrated on a single child.
Like most of Cindy McCain's life, these stories are generally hidden behind a wall of well-tailored reticence. She values the privacy of her family and resents the intrusiveness of the media. None of her relief work has been done for political consumption or Washington prominence. On the contrary, it has been an alternative life to the culture of the capital – the rejection of the normal progress of a senator's wife. "It is not about me – it never has been. I felt it was important – that I had to do it. I never took government money. It was my own, and I am not ashamed of it."
But all this would have political consequences in a McCain administration. Even if a first lady is not intrusively political, the whole White House responds to her priorities. Cindy McCain has had decades of personal contact with the suffering of the developing world. And in some future crisis or genocide, it might matter greatly to have a first lady who knows the smell of death.
Donnerstag, Juli 24, 2008
Obama hat deutsch-amerikanische Geschichte erzählt und eigentlich nicht viel Neues gesagt. Interessant war, dass das Publikum applaudiert hat, obwohl vielleicht höchstens 10 % überhaupt verstanden haben, was er sagte. Warum haben die Leute applaudiert, als er mehr Truppen für Afghanistan gefordert hat, als er deutschen Einsatz auch im Irak forderte und als er die Reduktion von CO2 forderte, also indirekt den Bau von Kernkraftwerken und nicht von Kohle- und Gaskraftwerken. Zudem wolte er 1 Stunde sprechen und es wurden ca. 20 Minuten, da seine Redeschreiber angeblich im Dilemma waren, da er bis heute immer wieder seine Aussagen korrigieren musste.ha!! haha :-) ja, ich mag obama. aber irgendwo habe ich gelesen, dass die Leute in Europa Obama "(...) mit gleich viel Kompetenz verehren wie sie Bush verteufelt haben." very true.... in der Regel ist nicht viel Wissen dahinter. Obama eignet sich nun mal zum superstar. er kann tolle reden halten, ja. aber er ist auch ein slick politician, und wenn nun der wirklich Wahlkampf anfaengt, wird er es nicht so einfach haben gegen McCain. beides sind gute Kandidaten, aber beide muessen noch wesentlich mehr zeigen was sie denn nun wirklich drauf haben.
und Obama ist wirklich stark darin, hier viel zu versprechen und dort viel zu korrigieren. tja.
in any case, great comment on NZZ :-)
Dienstag, Juli 22, 2008
To the citizens of the United States of America from Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
In light of your failure in recent years to nominate competent candidates for President of the USA and thus to govern yourselves, we hereby give notice of the revocation of your independence, effective immediately.
Her Sovereign Majesty Queen Elizabeth II will resume monarchical duties over all states, commonwealths, and territories (except Kansas, which she does not fancy).
Your new Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, will appoint a Governor for America without the need for further elections.
Congress and the Senate will be disbanded.
A questionnaire may be circulated next year to determine whether any of you noticed.
To aid in the transition to a British Crown Dependency, the following rules are introduced with immediate effect:
(You should look up 'revocation' in the Oxford English Dictionary.)
1. Then look up aluminum, and check the pronunciation guide. You will be amazed at just how wrongly you have been pronouncing it.
2. The letter 'U' will be reinstated in words such as 'colour', 'favour', 'labour' and 'neighbour.' Likewise, you will learn to spell 'doughnut' without skipping half the letters, and the suffix '-ize' will be replaced by the suffix '-ise'. Generally, you will be expected to raise your vocabulary to acceptable levels. (look up 'vocabulary').
3. Using the same twenty-seven words interspersed with filler noises such as 'like' and 'you know' is an unacceptable and inefficient form of communication. There is no such thing as US English. We will let Microsoft know on your behalf. The Microsoft spell-checker will be adjusted to take into account the reinstated letter 'u' and the elimination of -ize.
4. July 4th will no longer be celebrated as a holiday.
5. You will learn to resolve personal issues without using guns, lawyers, or therapists. The fact that you need so many lawyers and therapists shows that you're not quite ready to be independent. Guns should only be used for shooting grouse. If you can't sort things out without suing someone or speaking to a therapist then you're not ready to shoot grouse.
6. Therefore, you will no longer be allowed to own or carry anything more dangerous than a vegetable peeler. A permit will be required if you wish to carry a vegetable peeler in public.
7. All intersections will be replaced with roundabouts, and you will start driving on the left side with immediate effect. At the same time, you will go metric with immediate effect and without the benefit of conversion tables.
Both roundabouts and metrication will help you understand the British sense of humour.
8. The Former USA will adopt UK prices on petrol (which you have been calling gasoline) of roughly $10/US gallon. Get used to it.
9. You will learn to make real chips. Those things you call French fries are not real chips, and those things you insist on calling potato chips are properly called crisps. Real chips are thick cut, fried in animal fat, and dressed not with catsup but with vinegar.
10. The cold tasteless stuff you insist on calling beer is not actually beer at all. Henceforth, only proper British Bitter will be referred to as beer, and European brews of known and accepted provenance will be referred to as lager. South African beer is also acceptable as they are pound for pound the greatest sporting Nation on earth and it can only be due to the beer. They are also part of British Commonwealth. See what it did for them. American brands will be referred to as Near-Frozen Gnat's Urine, so that all can be sold without risk of further confusion.
11. Hollywood will be required occasionally to cast English actors as good guys. Hollywood will also be required to cast English actors to play English characters. Watching Andie Macdowell attempt English dialogue in Four Weddings and a Funeral was an experience akin to having one's ears removed with a cheese grater.
12. You will cease playing American football. There is only one kind of proper football; you call it soccer. Those of you brave enough will, in time, be allowed to play rugby (which has some similarities to American football, but does not involve stopping for a rest every twenty seconds or wearing full kevlar body armour like a bunch of nancies). Don't try rugby. The South Africans and Kiwis will thrash you, like they regularly thrash us.
13. Further, you will stop playing baseball. It is not reasonable to host an event called the World Series for a game which is not played outside of America. Since only 2.1% of you are aware there is a world beyond your borders, your error is understandable. You will learn cricket, and we will let you face the South Africans first to take the sting out of their deliveries.
14. You must tell us who killed JFK. It's been driving us mad.
15. An internal revenue agent (i.e. tax collector) from Her Majesty's Government will be with you shortly to ensure the acquisition of all monies due (backdated to 1776).
16. Daily Tea Time begins promptly at 4 pm with proper cups, with saucers, and never mugs, with high quality biscuits (cookies) and cakes; plus strawberries (with cream) when in season.
God Save the Queen!
Montag, Juli 21, 2008
the more training I attend, the more I experience in work life, the more disappointed I get about professionality and how well things are being done.
the emergency course I attended, I've been told by the facilitator that they chose the "creme de la creme" as they have far more applicants than places. and I looked around me, and said "I feel sorry for the poor people that we are going to help, if that is the best we can come up with".
and not to be misunderstood - I fully include myself into this. I think I am far from being appropriately qualifed and skilled and experienced for the kind of job I want to do, and it is not an entirely happy moment when I realise that I am being considered "very good" already.
I'm slowly getting out into the job market again. I don't know what to do, where to go, or even where I see myself in five years. 9 months to go in my current post, with a little luck an emergency mission, and then?
on verra. I kind of like this process of looking at yourself and finding something new that you can be excited about :-)
Freitag, Juli 18, 2008
Donnerstag, Juni 12, 2008
Mittwoch, Juni 11, 2008
just wanted to let you know that I'll be gone for a couple weeks. first to an emergency training in Norway - 10 days of robbing thru mud and being hijacked (at least that is what I expect!) - then a short weekend in Basel, then 10 days in Spain with my parents in their lovely villa, BBQ, sun, reading, sleeping, maybe some swimming, and then the wedding of a long-time friend of mine in Davos.
I'll be back to duty station July 16.
that is, if no emergency takes place beforehand. I'll be on the UNHCR roster as of July 1st, for the duration of 6 months, so if need arises, I might just get a phone call and within 72 hours I'll be on the ground where it is needed, for a 2 - 3 months mission.
I hope need arises!!!!!!!!!!!! preferably late August, though ;-)
have a great summer. I'll be reachable on facebook, gmail and my Swiss phone.
Sonntag, Juni 08, 2008
I usually feel a little burn and then I just know, I have like 12 hours to see a doctor and get antibiotics. if I don't manage within that time, "there will be blood" - in the urine, a sure sign that it is a pretty heavy infection.
I was lucky. of course I felt in on a Saturday evening when going to bed, and woke up with the full-blown infection on Sunday. New York, New York - the only doctors you find working on Sunday are the ones in the Emergency Rooms of the hospitals. and getting antibiotics without a prescription in the US? it's easier to get a rifle.
but well, it was not the worst experience ever. I really loved the staff at Mount Sinai hospital today - all funny and friendly. despite being in pain I couldn't help cracking jokes all the time. the clerk at the desk was delighted to point out that I have birthday on the same day as Barack Obama: August 4.
what I really loved, they give you the first dose of the pill you need right in hospital. way cool. and luckily all pharmacies are open 24/7, so once you have your prescription you are taken care of.
so not like last time I had cystitis. it's been a while, it was in Afghanistan. I had antibiotics but no pain killers. and you are supposed to drink a lot and, drinking or not, you run to the toilet all 5 minutes (better drink, otherwise it hurts even more and it will take longer to heal). and I had to travel. so I was at the airport in Herat. it was another suicide bomb threat day. on the airport. I could not have cared less. the toilet was miserable - the kind where you take one deep breath before entering - and wishing you could do that world record kinda thing of holding your breath. I was looking fwd to the airplane. UNHAS - united nations humantarian air service. but it was not my lucky day... the toilet was out of order. at least the flight Herat - Kabul only takes about an hour. or more?
sigh. Afghanistan. I'm getting so used to New York. I develop roots here. I even started thinking if I should not start looking for a job in NYC once my contract is up with UNHCR.... but this seems like selling out my dreams. still, the thought is here. but right now I'm on drugs, enjoying the impact a little pill can have on life quality, and not worrying about a thing. bless living in the developed world.
Freitag, Mai 30, 2008
Montag, Mai 19, 2008
what I do not know coz it is not in my genes is how NOT to use the microwave. no, I did not put a cat in it (I dont have one, that's why). but I did put the chinese left-overs in that carton box with the metal handle into it. next time I looked, the fucking box was a sea of flames and fully on fire.
ok. learnt another lesson. metal apparently sparks (*blush*) and maybe I should re-install the fire alarm I took off the other day :-D
Mittwoch, Mai 14, 2008
a good colleague at work, blessed with a cute daughter and pregnant with a baby to come to see this racked-off world around July, is going through tough times as her husband developed a headache, then a migraine, to be discovered it is blood leaking into his brain, probably from a blow to the head somewhen in the past - maybe during a hockey game? he is undergoing second emergency brain surgery today/tomorrow.
thousands of people - survivors - in desperate conditions in Myanmar try to brace for another potential cyclone.
today is Nakba.
ach ja... jeder ist sich selbst der Naechste...
me, I am having a fantastic time, all in all. and hope that by being there for friends in need and working on humanitarian issues, I can brighten the day of some people if not with my work, then with my smile :-)
my new glasses!!!
Mittwoch, Mai 07, 2008
Sonntag, Mai 04, 2008
when u go to this bar, where the barkeeper knows you and greets u with a special smile. when realise that everytime u showed up so far was with a different man by your side (lol - not gonna change that soon... too many great things r being offered ;-)
I do develop roots in NYC. how could one not? it's such a great city. you just get it all. and i realised tonight... I was thinking about my application to the UNHCR emergency roster. this thing, where - if I am accepted and pass the training course - they would call me at any point in time and withing 72 hours I would find myself in a emergency setting for 2 - 3 months.
I have to do it.
I have to.
otherwise I just might find myself living in a comfort zone...
the most romantic feelings in my life are those towards my career. career standing for truly getting to know this world, the crappy sides of it, and still enjoying every second of it.
coz, I know. I know that I enjoy things normal people would not appreciate. even the people living in such places don't.
am I an adrenaline junkie?
I guess, yes. and I want to get out of NYC before I become to used to living comfortably and having anything around me. it's so decadent. and i enjoy decadency.... but I need the balance on the other side.
life is a funny thing.
big hugs to you, my friends. especially Hafez, Worldman, Road to the Horizon, Cairo and Serena. wish we could all together meet in some bar sometimes.
Freitag, Mai 02, 2008
Their lives may not be at risk, but their basic rights and essential economic, social and psychological needs remain unfulfilled after years in exile. A refugee in this situation is often unable to break free from enforced reliance on external assistance.
as most complex problems do, also protracted refugee situations stem from political impasses. They are not inevitable, but are rather the result of political action and inaction, both in the country of origin (the persecution or violence that led to flight) and in the country of asylum.
we are talking more than 5 million individuals.
over 1 mio Afghan refugees in Pakistan
nearly 1 mio Afghan refugees in Iran
350'000 Burundians in Tanzania
215'000 Sudanese in Uganda
174'000 Somalis in Kenya
157'000 Eritreans in Sudan
132'000 refugees from Myanmar in Thailand
128'000 Congolese (DRC) in Tanzania
107'000 Bhutanese in Nepal
so please, stop complaining about the couple hundreds asylum-seekers in your western developed privileged country. stop saying "the boat is full". stop complaining about worsening security and that you can't leave your handbag open on the chair next to you while talking at the phone looking in the opposite direction. stop whining about "asylum-seekers", making it sound like a swear word, instead of the proud refuge and safe haven meaning it actually has.
Samstag, April 26, 2008
we're all living in Amerika
Amerika ist wunderbar
we're all living in Amerika
Wenn getanzt wird will ich fuehren
Auch wenn ihr euch alleine dreht
Lasst euch ein wenig kontrollieren
Ich zeige euch wie es richtig geht
Wir bilden einen lieben Reigen
Die Freiheit spielt auf allen Geigen
Musik kommt auch dem Weissen Haus
Und vor Paris steht Micky Maus
we're all living in Amerika
Amerika ist wunderbar
we're all living in Amerika
Ich kenne Schritte die sehr nuetzen
Und werde euch vor Fehltritt schuetzen
Und wer nicht tanzen will am Schluss
Weiss noch nicht dass er tanzen muss
Wir bilden einen lieben Reigen
Ich werde euch die Richtung zeigen
Nach Afrika kommt Santa Claus
Und vor Paris steht Micky Maus
we're all living in Amerika
Amerika ist wunderbar
we're all living in Amerika
we're all living in Amerika
we're all living in Amerika
This is not a love song
This is not a love song
I don't sing my mother tongue
No, this is not a love song
we're all living in Amerika
Amerika ist wunderbar
we're all living in Amerika
we're all living in Amerika
Coca-Cola, sometimes war
we're all living in Amerika
Montag, April 21, 2008
Freitag, April 18, 2008
I mean, with all due respect for chaos theory, I don't think there is much value added in linking the pope's visit to NYC to rising food prices in Guinea.
this is the mail I've been writing and re-writing and finally sending. I so much wanted to be offensive, but UN hierarchy and team spirit and cultural tree-hugging sensitivity starts to take a toll on me :-)
Dear colleaguesand you know what? as a result, the deputy director called me, happy about my input, and putting me on the list for an additional meeting where all the posters are being reviewed. additional work for me. it does not pay off to show common sense!
my apologies for not having been in touch lately, I was on mission. I assume it has been decided at the working group that we try to link the issue of HIV/AIDS to every MDG in order to emphasise the interlinkages between the goals and to underline the importance of not weakening in our resolve to combat HIV/AIDS. HIV/AIDS being an MDG in itself, I think is already important enough, but certainly there may be linkages to some of the others MDGs.
However, linking HIV/AIDS to MDG 7 ("ensure environmental sustainability") seems to somewhat overstretch good reasoning. To construct a line from high HIV prevalence to an increase in attack by vermin to me rather undermines the argument we are trying to make. No offense meant, I just feel that along this "chaos theory" line of thought, we could probably link anything with anything.
I don't think we would be doing ourselves and our efforts a favour by constructing such arguments. I'd therefore suggest to humbly leave out the poster on MDG 7 in particular, and be very critical when looking at the others (which I have not seen).
Donnerstag, April 17, 2008
(yes, UN paying for a training course in Geneva -- I so have NOT in the slightest a bad conscience for being alive and well-paid!! and I do not feel guilty for the bad in the world, either... and not responsible... and I love to work in chaos and emergencies BECAUSE I bloody LOVE it!)that being said, I did not want to throw those poor little cage-grown chicken-free eggs away. so I boiled them and took them through security and wanted to have a nice little snack before boarding.
did you know that peeling an egg can lead to having part of the "Schale" (shell?) suddenly between finger and nail?????? ouch!
Dienstag, April 15, 2008
don't know what this blog is for, at the moment.
bit I know many people who would like to read my diary :-) hehe, they don't know what they are asking for!
Montag, April 14, 2008
Mittwoch, April 02, 2008
from the novel
Afghanistan, Where God Only Comes To Weep
by the Iranian author
Excerpt from Chapter 5, pages 76 - 77 in the English edition
Montag, März 31, 2008
I wanted to thank you for your participation in the very constructive discussion of (insert the latest topic in the headlines) in (insert any fancy location). I feel we are making real progress as a system on this extremely important issue. Clearly we have a long way to go to realize our full potential, but we are on the right path.
I would also like to take this opportunity to let you know that (Mr. Upstairs), in keeping with his commitment to advance progress on (insert extremely important issue), has decided to set up a small team in his office to support him on these issues. (Insert name of someone with good connections), who you all know, has been appointed as the (insert high rank) of the (insert the one and only issue) team. Please join me in welcoming him in this new role. Should you need to reach him, he will still be available on his current contact information, but we will forward new contact information when it becomes available.
We look forward to ongoing collaboration with all of you as we continue this exciting journey together.
uuurgh.... it just makes me PUKE. and this on Monday morning after a great weekend. sigh. reminds me of that other statement about the UN....
or would for the case above, would it rather be,
Freitag, März 28, 2008
WFP: Josette Sheeran hopes to persuade her board at a meeting in June to shift her agency's focus away from emergency food aid and towards a wider remit. She wants to expand its role in surveillance, stockpiling and risk-insurance. She also speaks of targeting subsidies or vouchers "in ways that complement markets rather than distort them", as current subsidies often do. If this sort of clarity prevails, it would be a silver lining on the dark cloud that now looms over the poor. (Economist, London)
go Josette, go Josette :-) wish u good luck at that EB meeting... I've been to several of them - and handling member states is not an easy issue. everyone loves emergency aid, be it food, shelter, essential items and basic support. it is so undisputed, no one can truly be against it. it gets difficult though if you look at it from different angles, if you look at consequences, if you search for actual solutions. great that WFP steps up to the challenge. I do believe that humanitarians can contribute much more than just crying out for humanitarian space.
Mittwoch, März 26, 2008
2. Diamonds or pearls? pearls
3. Last movie you saw in the theater? the Kite Runner
4. What is/are your favorite TV shows? 24, and lately The Wire
5. What do you usually have for breakfast? bread or oatmeal or cornflakes or yoghurt and always black tea with a dash of milk
6. What is your middle name? I don’t like it..... I try to keep it hidden..... aarrgh.... Monika.
7. What food do you dislike? chinese mushrooms
8. What is your favorite CD at the moment? Johnny Cash, Essentials 1 and 2
9. What kind of car do you drive? yellow NYC cabs :-)
10. Favorite sandwich? sundried tomatoes, avocado, mozzarella in focaccia
11. What characteristics do you despise? self-righteous tree-huggers
12. Favorite item of clothing? uff.... mostly casual but nice shirts, skirts, and G-Star Jeans :-)
13. If you could go anywhere in the world for a vacation, where would you go? Iceland
14. What color is your bathroom? black, white and a green carpet
15. Favorite brand of clothing? G-Star, Tall Girls
16. Where would you want to retire? retire - never thought that far. Middle East. or Rwanda.
17. Most memorable birthday? 30 - having champagne in a public restaurant in alcohol-forbidden Afghanistan with the US secret service.
18. Favorite sport to watch? soccer, rugby, formula 1
19. Furthest place you are sending this to? the world wide web
20. Who do you expect to respond? worldman will have to leave a comment... and Hafez, insh'allah
21. Person you expect to respond first? Hafez :-)
22. Favorite saying? insh'allah!!!!! or: what to do.
23. When is your birthday? August 4
24. Are you a morning person or a night person? night, later, later, latest.
25. What is your shoe size? 41
26. Pets? got rid of my bed bugs. all on my own.
27. What did you want to be when you were little? working in a drug store (Drogistin)
28. What are you today? Humanitarian Aid Worker
29. What is your favorite candy? sour cat-tongues.... well... Katzenzungen :-)
30. Your favorite flower? osterglocken (don't ask me in english - it's not that important)
31.What is a day on the calendar you are really looking forward to? arrival date of my next visitor
32. What are you listening to right now? nada
33. What was the last thing you ate? lentil soup
34. Do you wish on stars? no
35. If you were a crayon, what color would you be? blue
36. What is your pet peeve? njet
37. Last person you spoke to on the phone? voice mail of con edison (electrics)
38. Do you like the person/people you are sending this onto? Yes
39. Favorite soft drink? Schweppes Tonic
40. Favorite restaurant? Holy Basil in NYC
41. Hair Color? currently, reddish-blonde
42. Favorite day of the year? can be any
43. What was your favorite toy as a child? Barbie and horses
44. Summer or winter? Summer but rather autumn
45. Hugs or kisses? that's a hard one.... hugs for friends... kisses for fun
46. Chocolate or vanilla? chocolate, most def
47. Do you want your blog friends to carry this on? nope :-)
48. When was the last time you cried? watching Kima get shot in the first episode of the wire
49. What is under your bed? dust
50. Who is the friend you've had the longest? it's the times you share, not the years alone.
51. What did you do last night? reading the Wheel of Time and cooking for myself
53. What are you afraid of? losing my parents or other very close people to death.
54. How many keys on your key ring? 5
55. How many years at your current job? 2nd in NY... 3rd for UNHCR... 4th as a JPO
56. Favorite day of the week? Thursday - a great night to go out
57. How many states have you lived in? three (in Switzerland)
58. Do you make friends easily? Yes - though the US is a special challenge.
59. How many folks will you send this to? none.