Can someone please throw that PVV dude out of the overland bus?

So apparently this idiot has fielded the idea that hijab-wearing women should be banned from using overland public transport and that the police should be tasked with removing women who wear the hijab from public transport (you can see the exchange on national public television here). Now obviously this is a completely idiotic idea (which goes further in discriminating specific population groups that the treatment of blacks in apartheid south africa Ot the treatment of african-americans in the U…

Required reading? de schijn-élite van de valse munters

Two days ago i finished reading ‘De Schijn-élite van de Valse Munters‘ the much-hyped book by Martin Bosma who is credited with being the strategic brain behind the rise of the populist/islamophobic PVV that is enabling the current right wing minority government in the Netherlands. I am not exactly sure why i started reading this book in the first place, but i guess it was because i wanted to get a better understanding some of the reasoning behind the (often extreme and seemingly irrational) pol…

Why the U.S is and will remain miles (sic!) ahead of europe.

If you want to understand this you simply have to listen to the below excerpt from a planet money interview with Mark Zandi the chief economist of Moody’s Analytics and contrast that with the petit bourgeois, xenophobic attitude towards immigration that is prevailing in Europe: and again, fundamentally we are fine. we can’t loose the sight of what makes our economy really tick though and that is: the most educated population, the best infrastructure and most importantly of all that we continue t…

Meanwhile south of the alps: operation white christmas

Speaking about changing my mind: i completely agree with this article about the state of affairs in italy by british journalist Martin Kettle. The thing that made him change his mind? John Hooper’s report from Coccaglio near Brescia brought together much of what is wrong with modern Italy in one seasonal package, all perfectly presented in extravagant wrapping paper and tied up with a great bow in the way that only Italians can manage. Christmas in Coccaglio, Hooper reports, is being marked by a…

'Spain saves white negro from sure death'

Over the last couple of days there has been a disproportionate amount of attention for a albino migrant named Moszy who, back in march, arrived together with 60 other a African migrants on the Spanish island of Tenerife. Moszy, who is said to have fled his native Benin where he was frequently abducted and used in magic rituals, has requested asylum in Spain, and it appears that the spanish government is willing to grant him refugee status. Now i am all against abducting people and using them in…

Thinking in times of social hypochondria

Finally finished reading ‘Denken in een tijd van sociale hypochondrie‘ (‘thinking in times of social hypochondria’) by the Dutch sociologist Willem Schinkel a couple of weeks ago. By the standards of Dutch sociologists, Schinkel is fairly young (31) and relatively famous (he was one of the 6 summer guests appearing on VPRO’s zomergasten in 2008 [torrent-file here]) which however does not mean that there are any english language references or translations of his work or available on the net (henc…

Salat | ‏صلاة‎

I spend last weekend at ars electronica speaking at the symposium on a new cultural economy curated by Joi and hanging out with an amazing bunch of people. Did not see much of the exhibitions, but at least managed to see the cyber arts 08 exhibition in the OK center and found another nice CFL for my collection. Most of the works were rather underwhelming. One of these exceptions was ‘Salat‘ by Johannes Gees which was documented at the OK center. Salat (the arabic/quranic term for prayer) consist…

More proof that GPS is evil

[see previous evidence here, here and here]. Over at BLDGblog Geoff Manaugh reflects on a feature in the last edition of WIRED that praises GPS and user generated map files for allowing rich westerners to travel through remote parts of the world (Namibia in this case) without the need for local guides. In ‘the digital replacement of the natives‘ Geoff argues that this trend – should it become more widespread – will probably be devastating for local economies based on tourism: I can’t help but wo…

Obscurity and confinement for migrants in Europe

The International Herald Tribune has an excellent article by Caroline Brothers on the spread of detention camps for foreigners that have mushroomed across the European Union (and the neighboring African and Eastern European countries). The article draws from the impressive work done my migreurop (and even links to their excellent map of migrants dentetion camps in Europe). “Detention is a very serious measure in a democratic society – governments deprive people of their liberty when they are con…

Mogadishu avenue (or where to find black people in Helsinki)

So one thing you notice when you are in Finland is how incredibly white the place is. there are almost no black (or brown) people to be seen. I think when i was in Helsinki for the last time in june 2006 i saw 3 black people in 3 days. So we brought up this observation over dinner yesterday and were informed that there are lots of black people but that one would need to go to ‘Mogadishu Avenue‘ to actually see them. Mogadishu Avenue, we were told, is the nickname of a street (Meri-Rastilan tie)…