Sunday, January 5, 2014

Sunday musings

Once again the cocoon of news isolation that is a feature of life on the Sandwich island has enveloped me.
It has and continues to amaze me that in such a great and powerful country such as America, that news from around the world is almost impossible to discern on local media.
Indeed I can get real in depth analysis and real time video coverage of a local basketball game or a street festival here and not a peep about events in the Middle East or any other hotspot.
Introspective, myopic and yet worldly, such is America.
Ariel Sharon, definitely a polarizing figure and leader in Israeli politics is in extremely poor and declining health. A little reported fact is that the former Prime Minister has been in a coma for the last 8 years. One of his biggest accomplishments was, during his tenure in office, to halt Israeli settlement expansion into the Gaza strip. This earned him the wrath of extreme right wing political foes.
After so many decades of war, hate, fear and religious rhetoric, it seems there is no chance for a middle ground in Middle East politics. Just black and white - my way or no way for anyone as the loser will leave nothing but scorched earth behind for the victor.
From the region that gave the world 2 of the greatest spokesman for peace and tolerance - Mohammed and Christ, such a tragedy.
In Africa, in the Central African Republic, nearly 20% of the population has been displaced and left homeless due to the increasing violence engulfing the country.If 20% does not ring a bell with you - how about 1 million? Yes, 1 million people wandering around, lost, terrified and/or living in camps.
The world sits by.
A weary cynic might say that is because it is happening in Africa and not, say, Europe or North America.
Where is the United Nations?
Just Africa....
In a case of deja vu, since the US forces have left Iraq - more and more of the country is falling under the control of the Al Qaeda. So much for the deluded protestations of those opposed to US involvement - remember how they (always) said, keep the Yanks out, nothing will happen?
Tell that to women now deprived of any and all rights.
Tell that to the educated being rounded up and murdered there.
You ever notice how the most opposed to opposition to religious extremism and dictatorships reside in safe, secure democracies in countries in North America and Europe?
You never see them uprooting themselves and moving to such great places like North Korea or Afghanistan?
Speaking of the recession of 2008 which lingers to this day, you ever notice how not a single economist lost a job in that time?
In Germany, on the sage advice of economists, the state railroad, Duetsche Bahn, fired thousands of older employees to save money. Sound familiar? Well, now the company has discovered a looming employee shortage due to retirements in the remaining workforce and now must hire 10,000 new workers a year until 2020!
It is similar to stories reported in Canada for the entire year 2013 about the "housing price" bubble and how grossly overpriced houses were going to hit a "fiscal" wall and prices drop by 60%!!!!
Never happened.
Stories continue.
Those economists are never going to be fired are they?
OK, back to Germany and I am bringing back an old feature, The German word of the week!
And the word is suppenkasper
Similar to the North American variant of "the boogyman", the suppenkasper has a great origion and is well worth looking up.
Here on my Sandwich Island, the other afternoon/evening we went to a little "dorf" (German word again!) to visit a monthly street festival and what a treat it was. Food vendors serving meals from all around the world at very reasonable prices and products to be bought - including the always tacky yet endearing Island souvenirs, of course made in Asia!
My better half has re-surfaced the mantra of 10,000 walking steps a day and my poor feet are evidence of this!
I think I have walked 1/2 the way from the earth to the moon already.

take care out there,
A hui hou

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