Bush was not welcome in Vienna

About 2 weeks ago, President Bush of the U.S.A. came to Vienna. This supposedly so powerful man was so scared that he brought along with him about 1000 agents to protect him, the Austrian government provided 3000 police to protect him at a published cost of about 1 million Euros. The road to and from the airport was shut down. Parts of the inner city were closed to the general public, the residents were forced to wear badges, hundreds of cars were towed away. The city of Vienna was overflown by military helicopters for several days before his arrival, and during his stay, the city was constantly overflown by helicopters with special forces hanging from the cuffs, ready to rappel down at any sign of danger for this less than popular man.

Austria is a peaceful country where even loud arguments are seldom, where political dissent is expressed in peaceful ways. Political violence does not exist. Here in Vienna, politicians and high dignitaries can often be seen walking about, going after their business, without the need for any kind of protection. The Viennese pride themselves for their sense of diplomacy and for their polity. Still, it was deemed necessary to inconvenience the whole city and heap exorbitant costs upon Austrian taxpayers, so that the good man could come to shake hands with his political allies in this country. One has to ask, what does the man fear that he feels he needs such excessive protection in this peaceful country ? Does he fear that he and his entourage could be arrested for crimes against humanity by a well-meaning prosecutor ? Does he fear somebody could poke fun at his incompetence, or is it something else, even worse ? I don't know, and I probably don't want to know what the man fears. What I known is that, according to all Austrians I could talk to, he made himself an annoyance.

Below are some pictures of a demo against Bush which took place on the last day of his visit. It was the "authorized" one, as there had been several smaller demos during and before Bush's visit. In this demo about 15.000 people took part. That is a big demo for Austria, where people don't really take to the streets to express their dissent. On the afternoon before this march, I was invited to Webster University to an event related to the Iraq war. One of the speakers was a former Marine who took part in the invasion in 2003. He told us that he went because he then understood that it was about defending his country (the U.S.), but that he would not do it again because of all he has learned in the meantime. He also said that he is in contact with many people who are still serving, that most of the still enrolled people he has talked to are disillusioned and feel cheated by their government. He also said, without going into specifics, that the situation in Iraq is "far worse" than what is being reported.

You can click on all pictures for a bigger view. Below the pictures, the texts of the placards are quoted.

"A War Criminal is Visiting Vienna. George W. Bush you are NOT Welcome !"

"I am bloody, even dirty" - Some police officers between the protesters

"Stop Bush - Stop War !" - Christians, Orthodox Jews and Muslim women side by side.
Also seen: "Worlds Terrorist #1", "Americans against Bush's War", "Hands off Iran"

"Against War and Capitalism - Killing is Business"

"War is NO Politics", "USA: Gods Own Penitentiary" and "In Mammon we Trust"

"Dont shake Bush's Hands"

"Stop Bush", "Fuck War", "Oil Junky"

The Guantanamo truck. Bush said he'd "like to close" the concentration camp, but who believes him anyway.

posted by الفــ العربي ــارس @ 6:02 AM, 0 Comments,

American Delegation in the Netherlands

We were in the western part of Zeeland, at the Brouwersdam restaurant.

He hid a deep sadness within. He asked why I had not written about the official delegation from the U.S. who had visited the Netherlands after the Katrina disaster. “Always I read your reports, always I guess that your new article is about Netherlands, and then I find you writing about him and something else!” he reproached me. His request angered me. I don’t like talk about politics at the lunch table. Politics has always taken away my appetite. I also felt that he was attacking another friend with his request.

We kept silence; we sent back the fish plate and left the restaurant. I told my friend that nothing was against him, but that I am a political journalist, and that the American politics makes me disgust. The Americans have brought disasters upon themselves and to other nations. This is why I didn’t write about Katrina and the Americans officials who visited the Netherlands in the aftermath.

The American officials who visited the Netherlands after Katrina were Senator Mary Landrieu, Senator David Vitter, Congressman Bill Jefferson, and Congresswoman Kathleen Blanco. This was in January, 2006. They joined Prince Willem Alexander for a tour to the Ramp Museum in Waterland Neeltje Jans and attended a lecture about the “Delta Project”, about preserving the environment and securing Zeeland against flooding, and the struggle against the sea. Working below sea level and with water has given the Dutch a world-wide reputation. For example, the Zuyder Zee project protected a large area of the country from flooding and gave the country about 160,000 hectares of new land.

The Netherlands has a long and varied experience of hydraulic engineering, particularly constructing dykes, digging canals, draining and building locks, bridges, tunnels and ports:

Ramp 1953 - Entry to the exposition about the 1953 disaster in Zeeland

In 1953, the ocean flooded the Netherlands. A large part of the south west of the Netherlands was flooded, claiming 1835 lives. After this tragic event, the Dutch implemented the plans of the “Delta Project”.

In 1958 the Dutch Parliament passed the Delta Act, which launched the Delta Plan, involving the closure of all tidal inlets except the New Waterway and the Western Scheldt, the shipping routes to Rotterdam and Antwerp.

The American media did not make public the visit to the Netherlands by some of their officials. The American always want to rise above others, even when they have to rely on the help of these others, preferring to steal their engineering experience instead of asking for it or receiving it as a favor. In this case, the Americans could not admit in public that the Netherlands has a better flood protection system than they have, that they took charge of their problem in a responsible way.

At the end of January, 2006, at the Brouwersdam restaurant in Zeeland, I met two Dutch workers, Raymond and Leon. They called my attention to the visit to Netherlands by the U.S. delegation. They were unhappy about the American politics.

With Raymond and Leon at Brouwersdam Restaurant

Raymond was angry. He told me that two months before, an American airplane had landed at Schiphol, the Amsterdam International Airport. “It is not fair to bring people from outside our country and put them in jail in our homeland”. I asked Raymond: “Do you think that jailing people by Americans in your homeland is a violation of Human Rights?” He said that the issue was not related to the human rights. The Dutch people are all against this kind of Americans behavior. “I think that in Netherlands we respect human rights, the Dutch people respect them, but the U.S does not respect them”, he said.

Raymond added “the Americans are trying to brainwash everybody”. He said that at the beginning he had supported the American war against Iraq, but after the arrest of Saddam Hussein there was no justification left for an American presence in Iraq. “I think the Americans should pull out immediately”, he said.

Raymond was very proud of the history of his country. He said that the Delta Project is a great project of which all Dutch are very proud. Originally, the place where the restaurant stands had been part of sea. That was before the Delta Project. 15 years ago Mr. Uwe Jendrush from Germany came here on a tour, the next year he returned and built this restaurant. Raymond, who worked at the restaurant, was very friendly. He also cooked very well.

View of dike, part of the Delta Project (click for bigger view).

On my return to Vienna through Amsterdam airport, I saw the security men humiliating the passengers at the boarding gate. The way they ask the people to take off their clothes and shoes, and how they touch the bodies of the passengers angered me. When my turn to pass the boarding gate came, a security woman grabbed my breast and abused me. I told her that what she was doing is a clear abuse that it had nothing to do with “security measures”.

The security man nearby who heard my comment, said: “We are implementing the American security demands at this airport”. He said that they had to implement the security roles of the Americans. I asked the security man what he thought about the American secret Jails in his homeland. He smiled and said that this is a big violation of human rights.

posted by الفــ العربي ــارس @ 5:59 AM, 0 Comments,

The Author

Kawther Salam

A Palestinian Journalist...

About me

I graduated from..

addtomyyahoo Subscribe in Rojo Subscribe with Bloglines Add to Google Add to Netvibes Subscribe in NewsGator Online

Web This Blog

About me

    I'm الفــ العربي ــارس From very special being a tiny little creation of God.
    My profile


Previous Posts


Powered By

Powered by Blogger