Small button, big consequences / Photo: Steven De Polo, flickr
After the German-directed ISAF air strike on two fuel vehicles stolen by the Taliban reportedly cost civilian lives, public calls for clarification are accompanied by both palsy and hectic in Berlin. Federal elections will take place in less than 3 weeks.
What often happens when things go very wrong is that people engage in speculation and search for a scapegoat. Too seldom though, we see people take responsibility, especially in politics. Clausewitz wrote that war never is an end in itself and always serves a political purpose. Imagine now a trigger in the hands of a German soldier serving in an army with a heavy legacy; an army from a pacifistic, self-traumatized post-war state, in which military planning, strategy and even tactics are subject to widespread emotional discussions. How much politics can efficient tactics bear? » More
Another case of biting the hand that feeds you:
Here in Switzerland, Aeropers, the Swiss Airlines pilots’ union, is suing Zurich Airport because of aircraft noise.
“The Aircraft noise reduces the value of our office building, which is located in Kloten under the eastern approach corridor”, says Henning Hoffman, the head of Aeropers.
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Since Germany has limited the over flight over its territory to the north, the eastern approach of the airport, which is the global hub for Swiss, faces much more traffic and the buildings underneath it an increased devaluation.
At present, many flat owners in Kloten, the town nearest the airport, have lawsuits pending for monetary compensation. Never mind that:
- They built and bought their homes 1 kilometer from an airport under an existing – though less frequented – approach corridor and knew it.
- The home prices have always been lower in the area because of the airport.
The same holds true for Aeropers, whose members produce the same aircraft noise they’re complaining about every day. (The ‘B’ in the map is the Aeroper building).
Real life satire.
Sixty-five years ago, on 20 July 1944, during the darkest days of German history, a few good men brought back a small spark of light to the conscience of a nation torn by war and involved in history’s most unprecedented mass murder. The story is well-known. So is the result: the attempt to remove Hitler from power with the help of his own contingency plan “Valkyrie” tragically failed.
What might not be so well-known is that Count Claus von Stauffenberg, according to Cambridge historian Richard J Evans, “found moral guidance in a complex mixture of Catholic religious precepts, an aristocratic sense of honour, Ancient Greek ethics, and German Romantic poetry. Above all, perhaps, his sense of morality was formed under the influence of the poet Stefan George, whose ambition it was to revive a ‘Secret Germany’ that would sweep away the materialism of the Weimar Republic and restore German life to its true spirituality.”
The key to understanding that “Secret Germany” (as cryptically elaborated in a poem by the same title, which was written around 1910, but hermetically kept from the public until 1928) is the idea that only the poet with his charismatic authority can voice the arcane without revealing it. It is him being the “spiritus rector” who deepens the inner reflections of his disciples, who awakens their intellectual and spiritual sensitivity, so his word is followed by their action.
Stefan George, Claus and Berthold von Stauffenberg in 1924, one year after having first met in Heidelberg. / Public domain
“Everyone dies, but not every death has the same meaning.” (Ulrike Meinhof)
It is June. Thousands of students gather on the streets, venting their anger at the Iranian leadership which they consider to be corrupt and dictatorial. Suddenly, shots tear through the air. A young protester taking part in a political demonstration for the very first time, covered in blood, draws some last breath on an empty side road.
"Either you are part of the problem or part of the solution. There is nothing in between." / photo: localsurfer, flickr
That protester is not Neda Agha-Soltan, but Benno Ohnesorg. And we are not talking about June 2009 on the streets of Teheran, but rather of June 1967 on the streets of then West Berlin. And well, the corrupt and dictatorial Iranian leadership is not (yet) to be confused with Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, it is still Persian with Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi ruling from the “Peacock Throne.”