Progressief Alternatief: Allemaal Winnen

Sterker nog, in Den Bosch worden de voormalige sans papiers als geslaagde migranten gepresenteerd bij iedere gelegenheid die een ‘best practise’ kan gebruiken. Daar zijn ze dus goed genoeg voor, de voormalige sans papiers. Ook, of juist, als minister van Buitenlandse Zaken, partijgenoot, op een zaterdag voorbij komt.

IMG_3342Pff, een week is vrij heftig als je een zoon uit de handen van de Marechaussee haalt, terwijl hij zonder papieren in Nederland is en je kort daarna een praatje moet houden over migranten, waarna je met niet-langer sans papiers eerst Bert Koenders ontmoet en daarna een terrasje pikt.

Snap je het nog? Die zoon is geen biologische zoon, maar woont al wel zo’n 9 jaar in je huis. Terwijl de andere kinderen naar de uni gingen, banen kregen en huizen kochten, mocht hij niet mee doen.

De sans papiers die nu wel mee mogen doen bij Boschveld, zijn mensen die tien tot zelfs achttien jaar geen verblijfsvergunning kregen. Nu zijn ze Nederlander en Vlaming. Iemand die de ambitie heeft om te slagen, die hou je niet buiten. Sterker nog, in Den Bosch worden de voormalige sans papiers als geslaagde migranten gepresenteerd bij iedere gelegenheid die een ‘best practise’ kan gebruiken. Daar zijn ze dus goed genoeg voor, de voormalige sans papiers.

Lees ‘The Will to Succeed’ waarom dat zo is.

Maar goed de minister van Buitenlandse Zaken komt als partijlid naar Den Bosch en er moet iets gebeuren op zaterdag 21 mei 2016.

Bert Koenders, minister BuZa, bij de Coppernickel in Den BoschHij deed het goed, Koenders, hij sprak met iedereen, toonde empathie en zocht naar wat hem en zijn gesprekspartner bond. Plus één voor persoonlijk contact.

Hij deed het shit, Koenders, want hij deed niet meer dan het huidige beleid verdedigen. Soort van paarse krokodil: ‘Ik kan er ook niets aan doen. Zo werkt het nu eenmaal.’

Maar wij waren hem welgezind. Alsof wij voor hem werken in plaats van hij voor ons. En we gaven hem een uitweg. In de vorm van een soort pamflet. Een idee, nog niet uitgewerkt en toch ook weer wel, gezien de vele initiatieven die er momenteel zijn. Hij heeft nog niet gereageerd.

Hier staat het:

Migratie als oplossing

  1. Migranten kosten het ontvangende land niets, leveren wel op. OECD 2014[1]: ‘Migrants contribute more in taxes and social contributions than they receive in benefits.’ Bovendien hebben zij de zogenoemde Will to Succeed[2]. Je laat niet alles en iedereen die je kent achter om te mislukken.
  2. Open grenzen & vrij verkeer. Migranten zijn goed voor het land van bestemming én voor het land van herkomst[3]. Economisch & sociaal. Een diverse samenleving waar iedereen toegang heeft tot burgerschap en tot mogelijkheden om zijn streven naar geluk te vervullen, is een veilige en welvarende samenleving;
  3. De bestedingsimpuls die voortvloeit uit de komst van migranten gebruiken om de productiestructuren te reorganiseren en resetten. Kleinschalig, van onderen af;
  4. Investeren in onderwijs en goede, gemotiveerde leerkrachten die verbinden. Tevens een systeem opzetten waarbij eerder verworven competenties (& buitenlandse diploma’s) snel toegang tot burgerschap en de arbeidsmarkt verschaffen. Iedereen doet mee. Iedereen voegt waarde toe. Het aantal vrijwilligers/stagiaires terugdringen ten faveure van betaalde arbeid. Het is volstrekt immoreel en vernederend om een Marokkaanse man geen betaalde arbeid te verschaffen, maar wel te gebruiken als ‘vrijwillig’ tolk en begeleider van nieuwkomers voor een organisatie die wordt gefinancierd met overheidsgelden;
  5. Uitkeringen op Europees niveau, zoals voorgesteld door denktank Breugel in het rapport ‘Benefits & Drawbacks of European Unemployment Insurance’, waardoor de lasten verdeeld worden over de lidstaten van de EU en solidariteit wordt bevorderd;
  6. Uit eerder genoemde rapport van de OECD[4]: […] ‘immigrants are filling labour needs by taking up jobs regarded by domestic workers as unattractive or lacking career prospects.’ Dit naast en gecombineerd met de alom bekende vergrijzing van Noordwest Europa. Bijvoorbeeld in sectoren als de zorg, transport, bouw en ict. &: ‘Most immigrants, after all, do not come for social benefits, but to find work and to improve their lives and those of their families. Efforts to better integrate immigrants should thus be seen as an investment rather than a cost.’ Met andere woorden, mensen komen ons helpen, laten we daar goed op reageren: welkom!
  7. Gebruik een ontwikkelingsmodel op de menselijke maat voor alle oude en nieuwe burgers. Een voorbeeld is de Human Scale Development door de Chileense econoom Manfred Max-Neef[5], of the Capability Approach die Amartya Sen[6] ontwikkelde: ‘Living the life one has reason to value.’
  8. Bovenstaand sluit aan bij het Brabants Alternatief, voorgesteld aan de Provincie op 28 april 2016. Het Brabants Alternatief is een mogelijke praktische uitwerking van bovenstaande theorie en van het rapport Brabant Advies ‘Uit verre landen’ door Provinciale Raad Gezondheid, Provinciale Omgevingscommissie, Sociaal-Economische Raad Brabant.

Nader uit te werken – deels al gedaan – te bespreken en door te ontwikkelen om tot een gelijke, evenwichtige samenleving te komen waar allen deel van uitmaken en waar allen kunnen winnen, vergeleken bij waar zij nu staan[7]. Dus, voel je vrij om mee te denken & doen.

Frank van Empel & Caro Sicking

nonfiXe, The Power To Differ

[1] Migration Policy Debates May 2014, ‘Is migration good for the economy?’ OECD

[2] Term van J.K. Galbraith, adviseur van J.F. Kennedy en U.S. ambassadeur in India. The Nature of Mass Poverty, 1979

[3] Migration Policy Debates May 2014, ‘Is migration good for the economy?’ OECD & multiple other sources e.g. ILO worldreport 2016, World Employment Social Outlook: […] ‘migration is an important mechanism for balancing labour market supply and demand across countries. The recent surge of refugees into Northern, Southern and Western Europe has led to the need to facilitate the labour market entry of a large number of individuals as quickly and effectively as possible. In the long term, the influx of migrants will help to counter skills shortages in certain areas and mitigate the risks associated with secular stagnation.’ P.4 J.K. Galbraith, The Nature of Mass Poverty, 1979.

The total amount of migrant remittances estimated in 2014: USD 583 billion. Of which USD 436 billion was sent to so-called developing countries. (IOM) Compared: Development aid totalled USD 131.6 billion in 2015 (OECD)

[4] Migration Policy Debates May 2014, ‘Is migration good for the economy?’ OECD

[5] Human Scale Development, Manfred Max-Neef, free pdf. Barefoot Economics / Economics unmasked co-author Philip B. Smith

[6] Amartya Sen, Development as freedom / The idea of justice / Mismeasuring our lives, co-authors, Joseph E. Stiglitz & Jean-Paul Fitoussi

[7] JES! Towards a Joint Effort Society, Frank van Empel & Caro Sicking, 2014 free pdf

The Will to Succeed

Why migration benefits the country of origin as well as the country of destination. It is utterly unwise to keep migrants out. Furthermore it is a human right to ask for help in another country. This speech was delivered at Tilburg University on May 17, 2016 by Caro Sicking. Occasion: STAI, I am Local

studenten w.o. Loïs & Geta, MariLou & Carla STAI 170516We’ve made a mess.

Devastating wars, extreme poverty, more slaves than ever before, violence, resource depletion and environmental catastrophes rage the globe. This is our species doing.

Despite all darkness, there are some shining stars. You are among them. I see and hear many individuals taking action for change and connecting, sharing knowledge and spreading ideas. I hope today I can contribute to your ambitions for a better world. I will tell you about what I know and about some of my sources of inspiration.

Starting the eighties last century, Manfred Max-Neef, economist from Chile, felt depressed over the state his country was in. Deprivation on all terrains; political, social, ecological, economical. Max-Neef saw no solution in neo-liberal ideas, such as trickledown economics. Trickledown economics comes down to stimulate growth by enriching the rich and empowering the powerful, than the accumulation of wealth in some sort of magical way trickles down to the poor, which of course does not happen.

He was looking for a profound development model to benefit the people and nature. He came up with fundamental human needs.

Four existential needs: Being, Having, Doing and Interacting.

Nine axiological – that is value related – needs:

  • subsistence
  • protection
  • affection
  • understanding
  • participation
  • leisure / idleness
  • creation
  • identity
  • freedom

Today we take the liberty to play with a part of the model and confine to the nine value related needs, something Max-Neef might not agree to, but we are not in an economics class and he is in Chile. We talk about how to come close to each other.

The fundamental human needs are interrelated and interactive, except for subsistence, which is merely staying alive.

When there are needs, satisfiers are required. Max-Neef qualifies food and shelter not as needs, but as satisfiers for subsistence. A mother breastfeeding her baby is fulfilling multiple needs at the same time: subsistence, protection and affection, maybe even identity and leisure as well.

And this is the interesting thing for our discourse today: the needs are the same throughout history and in all cultures. What changes is the way the needs are satisfied.

If we look at each other with the fundamental human needs in mind, we might come closer to each other.

Please keep the fundamental needs in mind and allow me to tell you how I got close.

Back in 1996, one still read newspapers. So was I that one morning, while enjoying a cup of coffee. All of a sudden I got blown in the face by this line: ‘The woman was thrown out on the street by immigration police’.

National authorities? Putting people on the street? In a country as rich and tolerant as the Netherlands? Maybe I was naïve, but it had never before occurred to me that such a thing was possible here. It made me think of my own responsibility as a human, as a citizen. Am I going to allow this? Just turn my head and go on with life as usual? That would make me an accomplice of a thoroughly immoral act performed in the name of democracy.

The next day I visited a shelter for irregular migrated women and children in the city I lived, Den Bosch. Since then I have been working with sans papers, sheltering people in our own home and writing about it. Since then I got close. And I have met very valuable and dear friends, who all have one characteristic in common: the will to succeed. I’ll come back to that later.

The women and children, some eighty in total, in the shelter in Den Bosch were all denied asylum. They were undocumented, irregular migrants, living in a country that did not accept their request for help. They were liars, economic refugees, profiteers.

They came from all over the world, except for the rich countries. Some fled gender violence, such as female genital mutilation. – At that time not a reason to get help, luckily this has changed. Some had run away from police abuse in the country of origin. Some had been lured into travelling to Europe for a job by human traffickers. The job invariably came along with a pay-back contract. These girls owed their so-called travel agents up to $60.000. The job invariably had not been the type of activity that was promised, like childcare or studying, but it was forced prostitution. The women had to lay down with multiple men in filthy hotels or dark brothels for fl. 25,- with a condom or if the guy preferred to have sex without protection: fl. 50,-.

Looking at the fundamental human needs of Max-Neef one can easily conclude that except for the first one, staying alive, no need was fulfilled.

But what happened… without knowing Max-Neefs’ theory the women in the shelter of VAST in ‘s-Hertogenbosch satisfied each others’ needs.

How it worked:

Although the shelter was housing people who had no legal staying permission, the local authorities tolerated it. They were kind of relieved these women and children did not roam the cities’ streets as homeless. Sometimes even the police asked for our assistance.

They called upon us after they found a fourteen year old Nigerian girl while raiding a brothel. The girl refused to speak. Maybe she’d speak to me? Maybe I could convince her to report on her traffickers?

No, I thought, she is never going to tell me her story while in a police cell. She’ll think I am one of them, being white and Dutch. She will not trust me at first sight.

And she will be much too afraid of her traffickers who might have used voodoo to seal the contract. They often used voodoo on African girls. A ceremony performed by a priest is a powerful tool. It is a kind of remote control, for the girl knows that if she should break the contract hell awaits her.

Your plan is not going to work, I told the police officer. But I have a proposal. Let me enter the police station with a Nigerian friend. Promise that you will not ask our ID’s, nor any other questions, and, promise that we will walk out free after visiting the girl in the cell.

He agreed. I asked Hope (not her real name) along. Hope had undergone the same abuse as the girl in the cell. A customer helped her escape and brought her to an asylum application centre. Needless to say, Hope had no papers. Furthermore she lied about her country of origin. She said she came from Sierra Leone, which was in a devastating civil war at the time. The lie was easily detected. Hope was rejected asylum and put out on the streets again, carrying a letter in Dutch that said she had to leave the country within 24 hours. A volunteer worker of VVN took pity on her and brought her to the shelter in Den Bosch. Now Hope was considering to report on the traffickers, but had not decided yet.

The decision to report is much harder than you might think. Trafficked persons put themselves at risk by doing so without any guarantee of success. Should the authorities be able to track down the perpetuators and convict them, the victim has to return to her country of origin. Facing a judgemental community.

Should the bad guys not be found, her situation is worse. She’d be sent home as well. And the traffickers will seek to punish her for betrayal, for breaking the contract. I know of a Nigerian girl who was sent back, recaptured by the traffickers and again put to work in bondage in the prostitution. You can imagine that escaping a second time requires much more of a person.

But Hope was a strong woman with a bright empathic character and optimistic view on life. She was willing and able to come along to talk to the girl at the police station. We’ll call her Yessica.

We entered the small police cell and Hope started to talk softly to Yessica. Finally Yessica agreed to come with us. The police too thought this was the best option. For they couldn’t legally keep Yessica in the cell much longer and they knew she was at great risk.

Yessica came with us and guess what happened. The first thing the other ladies did, was make her feel at home. They gave her a bath and clean clothes. They cooked her a Nigerian dish. They lovingly braided her hair.

In other words they satisfied the fundamental needs: subsistence, protection, affection and identity.

This happened every time a new woman came to the shelter. The other girls took care.

And mind you, with very little means. It was a daily struggle to feed everybody.

The following week Yessica was introduced to the other residents of the shelter. She was shown the way to the supermarket and city center, but always in the company of others, for her protection. Plus one for the needs participation and understanding as well.

She started to relax, learned how to use a sewing machine. Leisure and creation entered.

After a while it was my job to take her out for coffee and small talk. I’d ask her what was the strangest thing she’d seen when she first entered the country. She’d say ‘an escalator’ or a drawbridge, a bridge that opens.

We’d go to second hand shops for clothes. Slowly Yessica started to trust me. After some weeks she told her story. How she travelled, what happened, where she worked et cetera. Sometimes she just cried. Sometimes she did not remember things. Sometimes she gave valuable information to set up a case for an asylum request. I wrote it all down and looked for evidence.

This is how it went most of the time. There was not a standard method or procedure. The women took care of each other’s fundamental needs in a natural way and the organisation provided for the things they could not access themselves.

After the story was written, we spoke to a lawyer about starting or re-opening some kind of procedure to obtain a legal stay. But the woman involved was in charge. She decided what, when and how. The first signs of freedom.

The will to succeed

We owe the term to John Kenneth Galbraith,  advisor to president Kennedy and US Ambassador to India. Already in the 1960’s Galbraith stated that migration benefits the country of origin as well as the country of destination. The migrant is the one who deconstructs. She or he decides not to accommodate and is many times even prepared to risk his or her life for a better future.

A characteristic most migrants share is: The Will to Succeed.

You do not leave everything and everybody you know behind – for an uncertain future – to fail.

Those who succeed, share their success with those who stayed behind. They perform as rolemodel. More often than not, migrants send money, ideas and goods back to their families and former communities.

This money, for instance, goes straight to where it has to go: to a mother that needs medical care, to a brother or sister for education et cetera. It does not fall into the pockets of cleptomanic regimes and their bunch.

The will to succeed benefits the country of destination as well. Migrants tend to contribute to the receiving society in many ways.

The people I’ve met, have proven this statement. Yessica is now married with children in Italy. Hope has a job in geriatric care, studies and provides for her three kids. Other women started a cleaning company or opened a restaurant. They offer employment. For most of them it took ten years of their lives to get where they are now.

One girl from Azerbaijan who lived in the shadows for 18 years, completed a MBO study of 4 years in just one. Then she took up HBO. ‘I have no time to lose,’ she explained. She is 25 now.

The access to society can and must speed up. For it is not the migrant who needs this amount of time to build up a live of productive wellbeing. It is society that prevents people from entering.

High fences and military will not stop those who are determined to change their and their children’s lives.

Apart from the fact that force will not stop them, but costs valuable lives – and we’ve seen that happen multiple times!. And aside from how you might feel about the moral aspect of closing borders and excluding people, it is very unwise to keep migrants out.

I quote JK Galbraith: ‘Migration is the oldest action against poverty. It selects those who most want help. It is good for the country to which they go; it helps break the equilibrium of poverty in the country from which they come. What is the perversity in the human soul that causes people so to resist so obvious a good?’

Access – How?

Access is important, not only for the women and children in the shelter in Den Bosch, not only for the millions of displaced persons, refugees and other national or international migrants, but also for the migrant receiving communities.

Doug Saunders wrote about this. He researched arrival cities worldwide. An arrival city is the growing community of migrants who set themselves up at the outskirt of a metropolis such as the favelas of Rio or the shanty towns of Mumbai. They struggle to reform their lives and try to integrate themselves socially and economically. These migrants want to build communities and strive to become middle class. It is all about upward mobility. Unlike most think, the slums can become fertile ground and stimulate local, national, even international economies.

This is not by bulldozing them down or excluding the residents. Such acts will lead to the opposite: a violent unsafe place where crime, drugs and radicalization flourish.

Saunders: ‘If an impediment can be removed, if the state can provide the basic fruits of the city, than an arrival city will take care of itself. Its’ residents know what to do. They have been trying to do it for years.’

Saunders talks about access. Access to citizenship and access to opportunity to fulfil one’s aspirations, to be able to live the life one has reason to value. I think this is what we need to come close: access while bearing the fundamental human needs in mind. The women in the shelter in Den Bosch showed us the way.

Caro Sicking, May 17, 2016

speech at: I am Local – meeting UvT organised by STAI, May 17 2016.

Other speakers: Mohammed Elgizoly Adam and Angélo Schuurmans

Satisfiers for ‘Understanding’:

  • The women & children of Stichting Vast, Den Bosch
  • M. Max-Neef: Human Scale Development – free pdf
  • J.K. Galbraith: The Nature of Mass Poverty
  • D. Saunders: Arrival City
  • A. Sen: Development as Freedom
  • F. van Empel & C. Sicking: JES! Towards a Joint Effort Society – free pdf  info @ nonfixe.nl or printed version

Trailer JES! Towards a Joint Effort Society

NonfiXe, May 22 2017

 

 

Ben Okri: N – The Madness of Reason

N – The Madness of Reason is described as a creative documentary by the makers. The Facebook page says: ‘A confrontation between the Western mind and African spirituality.’ nonfiXe went to Bozar in Brussels to see the film. Ben Okri, who wrote the text, and director Peter Krüger spoke afterwards. Here is a short piece of the cake, that was abundant. Ce sont les absUnknown-1ents qui ont eu tort, as the French say.

‘The death are more powerful than the living’, Ben Okri

Ben Okri, booker prize winner, is the author of among others The Famished Road

 

 

Needed: Radical Change for Peace!

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Syrian fighter defects to Qaeda-linked group Source: Aljazeera

Humanity is in a battle against barbarism. 

nonfiXe looks ahead.

After humanity has won – and it will win, humanity always wins as long as people are involved – the global community will have one chance to seize the moment and create a better world. A world where all are welcome, included, equal and participating, no matter where one is born.

Frank van Empel & Caro Sicking for nonfiXe

A Joint Effort Society [1], as we like to call it, is based on peace, equality and participation. To prevent barbarism from taking over, Eleanor Roosevelt and others wrote the Universal Declaration of Human Rights [2] in 1948. We installed courts to judge crimes against humanity. Robert Schuman and Jean Monet brought their idea of a united Europe to the world[3]. One of the main concepts underpinning the European Union is, as in the French national slogan: brotherhood. The concept Brotherhood bridges differences between people leaving room for variation.
‘The European Union is a good example of cooperation rooted in a simple insight: countries are better off when they work together than when at war with each other. Large areas of Europe previously have been brought under one banner by empires built on force, such as the Roman Empire and Nazi Germany. Julius Caesar, Napoleon, Bismarck and Hitler were Lords of War, not of Consultation. The result: destruction.’[4] The EU has proven until today – although there have been many disagreements – that it is a machine for Peace. Such has been the case for more then sixty years.

Looking at it from this perspective, Kurdistan can become a strong symbol of peace, right at the heart of the Middle East. What if, instead of the romantic notion of an independent state, turning back the pages of history 2600 years to days of the Median Empire – ‘When things were good for the Kurds’ – what if the Kurdish people started a peace offensive never seen before in that part of the world. They connect Syria, Iraq, Iran, Turkey and Armenia. They are looked upon as prospect friends by Israël. They can bridge adversaries and can do so in a peaceful manner, by trade, by improving economic conditions and by rebuilding society. The same way Germany and France were reconciled in the ECSC after WWII.

Many will react to such an idea as crazy. But, try to imagine what is possible. Search for opportunities. There have been more crazy ideas that changed the world for the better.

Kurdish line dancers at the Komalah meeting, Rotterdam, NL, 02.14.15
Kurdish line dancers at the Komalah meeting, Rotterdam, NL, 02.14.15

Kurdish communists
Last Saturday, Valentines’ day, we attended a meeting of the Communist Komalah party of Kurdistan in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. It was the celebration of the 38th anniversary, somebody told us. The square room was filled with tables that had bananas, tangerines and baklava on them. Red drapes and portraits of Marx and Engels hung at the walls. Men and women, children, were listening to speeches we didn’t understand a word of, lacking the Kurdish tongue as we do. We were there in the company of a friend, a former member of this party who had to flee his home country some twenty years ago. Our friend is no longer a communist. He came to greet his old companion, one of the present leaders of Komalah, Hassan Rahman Panah. They hadn’t seen each other these twenty years our friend lived in exile.

The atmosphere was friendly, although some peshmerga were present wearing uniforms. After the speeches there was music. The community rose to their feet and performed traditional line-dances with clicking cloth and waving shawls. It all looked quite innocent and somewhat out-dated.

The empire strikes back
That is when we saw them. A group of bikers, some covered with tattoos, was standing at the entrance. They wore black sleeveless jackets. The back pictured a skull and white letters saying: Median Empire, Germany[5].

Median Empire, Germany
Median Empire, Germany

Our first association was with extreme right motor clubs.‘Who are they? What are they doing here?’ As it turned out the majority of these young men were second generation Kurds. They were the children of former communists and peshmerga who fled the country after the Khomeiny regime hit hard on them, killing 3000 people. In their early childhood Papa and Mama both carried around a gun or an automatic weapon in one hand, a radio in the other, as to follow the enemies’ movements. Brought up in a militant dissident environment they followed their parents’ footsteps in the struggle for an independent Kurdistan. When ISIL attacked Kurdish towns, of which Kobani may be the best known, and killed women and children, destructed homes and schools, the bikers here present went to the mother country to defend the innocent. They were heroes to the men and women in the room. Still we felt a chill going down the spine.

Weapons everywhere
Looking at the map of Northern Iraq you can find several compounds of Iranian dissidents, like the small Komalah party. Saddam Hussein gave them refuge against the Ayatollahs, who were also his enemies. They are set up in camps with training facilities and weapons to defend themselves. Saddam has gone, but Iran is still in the ban of the Mullahs. Next to this in the same region ISIL has grown fast into the worlds’ most cruel terrorist group.
All parties attract youngsters to fight for some ideology that claims to be The Truth. Everybody is armed. The world’s gone berserk.

21 Egyptians beheaded
One day after the meeting of the Kurdish communist party, on Sunday February 15 2015, ISIL released a video showing 21 men in orange jumpsuits walking a death row on a beach in Libya. They were led by an equal number of black masked terrorists. The men in orange had to kneel, while one of the terrorists, dressed different from the others, addressed the camera in North American-accented English. ‘All crusaders: safety for you will be only wishes, especially if you are fighting us all together. Therefore we will fight you all together,’ he stated. ‘The sea you have hidden Sheikh Osama bin Laden’s body in, we swear to Allah, we will mix it with your blood.’ The prisoners – all Egyptian but one – were forced to lie face down. Twenty-one knives, at the look of it not even sharp knives, pointed at the throats of the innocent. No one uttered a word. There must have been some sort of a sign. All twenty-one prisoners were beheaded simultaneously. The last expression of angst, courage or resignation, froze on their faces. The killers put the heads of the men on the shoulders of their lifeless body. Then the jihadist speaker pointed his knife northward and said: ‘We will conquer Rome, by Allah’s permission.’ The sea coloured red, mourning these innocent victims of hatred.

Lone Wolf in Copenhagen
In the meantime, in north-west Copenhagen, among the quiet, graffiti-tagged streets of red-brick blocks and low-rise social housing bordering the multi-ethnic Nørrebro district[6], the police continued to cordon off roads and searched a flat near the spot where officers killed a twenty-two year old believed to be behind Denmark’s bloodiest attacks in over a decade. Two people were killed and several injured at a cultural centre and synagogue in an outrage that has left the whole country in fear and mourning.

Franchisers in death
Up to now ISIL was characterized by keeping its’ atrocious actions inside the Iraqi and Syrian borders. Their alleged aim is to found the fourth Caliphate. The ones who suffered the most are people from the Muslim community. Now ISIL stepped up to Libya and threatened to march to Rome. It affiliated with Al Qaeda by revenging the death of Osama Bin Laden. But weren’t these groups at odds with each other? Both claiming The Truth? Are Allah’s franchisers in death cuddling up to each other? Next to ISIL different terrorist groups fighting a religious war that holds nothing religious nor human are: Boko Haram in Nigeria, Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (Yemen), Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, Al Shabaab (Somalia), Al Qaeda Afghanistan & Pakistan, Jamaah Islamiyah (Indonesia).

Apart from these organized death squads there are the so-called lone wolfs. They are inspired by the terrorists and come up with their own attacks on innocent victims, such as is presumed to have been the case in Denmark, and as we saw in the Charlie Hebdo assault. Even Europe is no longer a safe haven. What the hell is going on?

Gee! You exist ?!?
Severe inequality, exclusion and discrimination led to uprisings in French suburbs during the early eighties. Second generation migrants claimed their rights as French citizens. All of a sudden France realized it wasn’t a homogeneous society anymore[7]. There were these kids, grown up in Marianne’s lap, who felt outsiders, were jobless and hopeless. One of the voices was a musical one, the group Carte de Séjour with lead singer Rachid Taha was among the Rock dissidents. They sang about their existence between two cultures, belonging to neither.

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Carte de Séjour lead singer Rachid Taha, courtesy Youtube

Not only in France, in the whole of Europe, the population had changed, seemingly at a blink. This also led to the rise of extreme rightwing political parties, who fed the fear. Now they are proven right? Or, have the Europeans created their own monster by excluding large parts of the population from equal participation in society?

Us against Them
The current generation of politicians is polarizing and adding up the fear. The Danish prime minister, Mrs. Helle Thorning-Schmidt acknowledged ‘We are not in the middle of a battle between Islam and the west’, but the battle is against those with a ‘dark ideology’[8]. Immediately after the attack she said the Jewish community is a strong part of Denmark, and that ‘we will do everything we can to protect the Jewish community in our country’[9] . This was probably an answer to the call of Benjamin Netanyahu from Israël, who invited Jews from all over the world to come ‘home’, that is, migrate to the state of Israël, for protection, thus fuelling polarization.

It is about us against them. It is all about exclusion leaving room for extremist ideologies of both sides to lure the excluded, the adventurous and those attracted by a false romantic notion of war and heroism. How do you think the Muslim community of Denmark feels right now? In many places innocent Muslims are blamed for the atrocities of extremists. It is generally expected of them to apologize for attacks they have nothing to do with. They are pressed to disassociate themselves from shoot-outs and murder. What are we thinking? How can one disassociate one-self from something that one was never associated with? Why do we believe ordinary men and women, our neighbours and colleagues, with an Islamic background have anything whatsoever to do with terrorist attacks? Because they themselves, or their parents or grandparents have been born in an Arab country? Because they are or look like worshippers of Allah? This is a severe blow back on freedom of religion as well as a jump shot for discrimination: judging a person by the looks.

Then what should we do?
We need a radical change for peace! And we have the proof it is possible. Peace was the goal of the EU from the beginning. Sworn enemies have united through mutual interests, starting with economic interests, and none of the EU members has fought one of the others since membership.
Today, humanity has to stop barbarians like ISIL. We can only do this together by standing next to each other, trusting on humanity and searching for what we have in common instead of looking for what divides us.

Humanity today has one common enemy: those who kill innocent people at point blanc, like ISIL is doing. We can unite on putting ISIL and affiliates to a halt. We can stop them in various manners, not in the least by getting to know our neighbour, who may have a different background, worship another God, or no God at all, or who lives according to other cultural standards. Curiosity is an important quality nowadays. We need to be curious after one another and nurse an empathic attitude that roots from the concept brotherhood.

Now, more then ever, we will have to use our fantasy, creativity, energy and will power to steer the whole globe into a sustainable direction. This will not be easy. Systems, especially systems fed on fear, are hard to change. Intervening requires curiosity, sensitivity, agility and flexibility, but above all awareness. Today the overall convenient action is not to fight and divide, but work together and unite. Cooperation leads to different paradigms on sharing and accumulating learning. It leads to different paradigms on possession and on power. Which is exactly what the world needs now: Power for humanity. So everybody is able to live the life she or he has reason to value[10], safe and in peace.

Post script: We did not link to the atrocious video of the killing of 21 innocent men by ISIL for the obvious reason that such footage does not support peace and freedom in any sense.

Footnotes
1. JES! Towards a Joint Effort Society, Van Empel & Sicking, 2013
2. Universal Declaration of Human Rights
3. Founding fathers of the EU. Robert Schuman and Jean Monet came up with the Schuman plan
4. JES! Towards a Joint Effort Society, JES! § 9.3 Van Empel & Sicking, 2013
5. NPO broadcast, Vrije Radicalen, Dec 20, 2014
6. From the Guardian, Febr 16 2015.
7. See Al Jazeera Documentary ‘Muslims in France’
8. Danish prime-minister one day after the assaults in Copenhagen
9. Helle Thorning-Schmidt at the attacked synagogue in Copenhagen, Denmark
10. Amartya Sen, Development as Freedom, 1999

nonfiXe, February 16, 2015

Aanslag op het Verschil

Het sociale kapitaal van een gemeenschap wordt bepaald door de mate van broederschap. In diversity we stand as sisters & brothers. Against all forms of terror.

#CharlieHebdo is trending sinds gisterenmiddag in Parijs drie gekken een aanslag pleegden op het gelijknamige satirische weekblad en 12 mensen vermoordden. In naam van God!

Terreur, brute moord, koelbloedige afrekening, een machinegeweer gericht op een potlood, behoren tot de gruwelijkste misdaden die een mens kan plegen.

Grote eensgezindheid kenmerkt de vele reacties. De aanslag wordt beschouwd als een aanslag op de vrijheid van meningsuiting, een van de kernwaarden van onze samenleving. United we must stand, klinkt van alle kanten.

Dat is meteen ook het beangstigende. Wanneer de massa eensgezind dezelfde kant op marcheert, is waakzaamheid geboden. De nuance raakt verloren en eer je er erg in hebt, slaat de communis opinio door naar de andere kant van extremisme. Marine Le Pen roept al over herinvoering van de doodstraf. In Nederland slaat de PVV zich op de borst met een Groot Gelijk. Beiden dragen fundamentalistisch en onvrij gedachtegoed uit. Ze zijn flink geholpen door de psychiatrische gevallen die de aanslag op de redactie van Charlie Hebdo pleegden.

In naam van Grote Concepten, worden de ergste misdaden gepleegd. Moorden in naam van God. Oorlogen in naam der Vrijheid. Het is dezelfde munt die opgegooid wordt. Beide kanten gebruiken hetzelfde geweld, dezelfde retoriek, dragen dezelfde bivakmutsen.

Een houding ‘Wie niet met ons is, is tegen ons’ belemmert de echte dialoog. Of je nu God of Vrijheid in je vaandel hebt staan, zolang je niet bereid bent om je eigen paradigma’s en waarden tegen het licht te houden, kom je samen niet verder.

Wij bij nonfiXe staan voor Vrijheid en de Kracht van het Verschil. Wanneer we de hand in eigen boezem steken, ontdekken we dat iedere aanslag op vrijheid ons diep raakt. En voor moord bestaat geen excuus! Maar als we die vrijheid echt willen bevechten, moeten we degene die er een andere definitie aan geeft, daar vrij in laten. Dat is eng! Stel dat die ons vertrouwen misbruikt en ons onder het juk van zijn God brengt, onze vrijheid afpakt en ons monddood maakt. Omgekeerd geldt iets soortgelijks. Kortom, op deze manier komen we niet dichter bij vrede op aard.

E.F. Schumacher schreef over divergente problemen, onverenigbare waarden, zeg maar. Zoals die hierboven beschreven. Die los je niet op met technologie of regelgeving. Je lost ze op door er een brug tussen te bouwen. Vrijheid van meningsuiting en van godsdienst kunnen verenigd worden door broederschap. Broederschap is, naast vrijheid een van de drie waarden van de Franse natie. Broederschap is niet: ‘Kom erbij, doe als wij’. Broederschap is oprechte medemenselijkheid en nieuwsgierigheid naar de ander.

Broeders (en zusters) kunnen het krachtig oneens zijn zonder naar wapens of geweld te grijpen. Broederschap verenigt de atheïst met de gelovige. Niet door Eenheid te prediken, maar door Verschil te koesteren en wederzijds begrip te ontwikkelen. Het sociale kapitaal van een gemeenschap wordt bepaald door de mate van broederschap. Frankrijk draagt het begrip al sinds de Franse Revolutie met zich mee. Nu is het moment om daar meer dan ooit om gevolg aan te geven. Door ons allemaal. In diversity we stand as sisters & brothers. Against all forms of terror.

Afbeelding: David Pope. Twitter @davpope ‘Can’t sleep tonight, thoughts with my French cartooning colleagues, their families and loved ones ‘ 16:09 – 7 januari 2015

Caro Sicking voor nonfiXe

08.01.2015

 

Controversy Unleashed on JES! Towards a Joint Effort Society

The Review Board / Miss No Labels set out to discuss JES! Towards a Joint Effort Society. Controversy and Unleashed agreed on 8 stars out of ten.

Here’s why:

Controversial Thoughts

“JES! Towards a Joint Effort Society” by   Frank van Empel & Caro Sicking examines the multitude of ways where we, as a society, can improve not only our individual way of life, but the way of life for many. This is indeed a pretty intriguing political read that makes a person think about how things are going around them as well as about those that they care.

This read reminds me of “Be the Change!” in the concept and context of how to improve our surroundings as well as self by engaging with our surroundings as well as those who are already engaging in our surroundings in order to move together in the same direction in the name of Achieving a Common Societal Goal.

It would be imperative to state that this book takes on a feel of one Phillip Jack Brooks (AKA former multiple time WWE Champion CM Punk), as he sits Indian style and inquires if he has the attention of everyone at this present time. That specific feeling comes from this book, giving me a sense of “Pay Attention to the message that is being conveyed, for there will be some DEEP dialogue that is about to be spoken.”

I LOVE that there are several writers out there who are looking at this topic and speaking on this topic. Of course, there will ALWAYS be those who are accustomed and satisfied with the status quo that is occurring today, and will thumb their nose at the ideas, thoughts, views, and opinions of the writers of “JES! Towards a Joint Effort Society”.

MOST LIKELY, those people will say something along the lines of Dr. Robotnik’s (AKA Dr. Eggman, antagonist of Sonic the Hedgehog) quote, “A Nice Dream, but dreams were meant to be… Broken.”

I agree with Miss No Labels: very few errors could be found. When this is noticed, it gives the air that there were SEVERAL eyes on the work as well as SEVERAL eyes were on the research that was put into this book.

The footnotes at the bottom of the pages is an “A++” in my book, and I DO NO

T GIVE OUT A++s TO ANYONE.

My only downside is that it can get wordy, and your eyes can get crossed.

Survey Says: 8 out of 10 Stars.

Frank van Empel & Caro Sicking’s “JES! Towards a Joint Effort Society” is indeed a thought provoker, and a good one at that. Give it a whirl, get lost in the information, and see if Frank and Caro have your attention.

                                       ###

Now let’s hear from the Unleashed One:

Unleashed Speaks

When exploring a work of nonfiction, I have to approach it a little differently than I would another genre.  The deciding factors include but aren’t limited to the following:

  • Cover concept
  • Visual presentation (from white space vs. text to overall syntax)
  • How well researched and documented the material (if a bibliography is not available, how many personal experiences tie in to the content)
  • How well the topic discussed traps my interest

cover JES!Cover concept: It was very hard for me to connect the visual to the content inside.  I expected a more predominant cover to match the knowledge and the passion in which the topic of a joint effort society was covered.

Visual presentation:  There were very little flaws in syntax and proper balance between white space and text.  The text used was extremely easy to read.

Research and Documentation: JES! Towards a Joint Effort Society gets top marks in research and documentation.  There was a lot of beauty in the breakdown of the history preceding the modernized interpretation of a cooperative society.

Interest in topic:  The advocacy of a joint effort society is a wonderful thing to strive for.  It is apparent that many factors have kept the growth towards this at bay.  The authors outlined some of the key deterrents such as inequality in social and economic hierarchy, the promotion and reward of competition more so than cooperation.  I like reading material which causes me to really think and imagine a world different than the current chaos reflected on a daily basis.

Drawbacks (for me) that kept this work from getting the full ten stars:

Cover concept (reasoning already covered)

Slightly overbearing in history vs. practical application: In certain areas, there was so much history discussed that one almost forgot the authors wanted to cover modern exercises in how a joint effort society can be achieved.  Although background information in this work was definitely necessary to someone reading about this topic for the first time, an excessive amount could cause a reader to lose sight on the point of this work.

More visuals to accommodate information:  I do wish there were more graphic models to emphasize certain concepts, particularly when discussing ecolution, comparison between cooperative and competitive processes and the overall joint effort society model.  The modern examples given were excellent but more visuals would have further existing in having the points hit home.  Plus, this would come in handy for those readers who are more enthralled with pictures than lots of text.

Looks like Mr. Controversy and I are in agreement on this one:

8 out of 10 Stars

Unleashed Verdict: JES! Towards a Joint Effort Society gathers these marks for topic interest, thorough documentation and explorations to improve modern day living.

Thanks for checking out The Review Board.  Feel free to like, share and subscribe!  Have a terrific day!

The above is shared from The Review Board. Here’s the link again.

Curious about the book?

Take a look inside JES!

Trailer JES!

Order JES! Towards a Joint Effort Society  ISBN: 978.94.90665.111 / Price: € 33,-

Read JES! Towards a Joint Effort Society on your e-reader ISBN: 978.94.90665.104 / Price: € 7,50,-

nonfiXe, October 5, 2014