Wednesday, June 24, 2009Skender
En de eerste bereidwillige collaborateur uit ons vakgebied was vanzelfsprekend Yves Desmet, de commanditaire loftsocialist van De Morgen . Woont zelf in Mechelen, en was altijd opvallend mild voor zijn burgemeester. Voor alle duidelijkheid: dat was niet omdat zijn eigen vrouw lid is van de Mechelse Open VLD en voor die partij in de Hoge Raad voor Justitie zetelt. Dat heeft er niets mee te maken, wie het anders suggereert is te kwader trouw, en voor kwade trouw is geen plaats in Knack.
Koen Meulenaere op

Geschiedenis politiseren

Saturday, June 13, 2009Skender
for eighteen hundred years the Jerusalem Jewish community was a small minority here. But with the ultimate political status of the town still undecided, it is vital for the Israelis that truth is suppressed, or at least disguised. Jerusalem is meant to be their eternal capital. These monasteries are evidence of a Christian-dominated Jerusalem. So they were hidden.
Hagop Sarkissian: the Armenian Bishop in Jerusalem, quoted by William Dalrymple in "From the Holy Mountain"
Whatever the situation in the early years of the state, he said, current Israeli archaeological methods were thoroughly professional. In his opinion the historical sites of Israel were excavated impartially, without regard to religion. But he was equally adamant about the serious disparity in the presentation of those finds. 'The conservation of Christian remains is systematically less good than the treatment accorded to Jewish remains' he said.
'How does this neglect show itself?' I asked.
'Synagogues they look after beautifully,' said Piccirillo. 'They cover them with shelters and stop people standing on the mosaics. But newly excavated churches or monasteries they can quite easily rebury, as they did with those outside the Damascus Gate. They would never dream of doing that to a synagogue, and the religious establishment would never let them. With Christian buildings, if they don't bulldoze them, they leave them just as they find them. In Jordan, every single mosaic I have excavated is now under specially built shelters, even in specially built museums. But there are churches with good mosaics open to the air all over Israel.'
'Does that matter?' I asked.
'It matters very much. If these Christian sites are not guarded they can get attacked.'
'But you see,' continued Piccirillo, 'it's not just a matter of protecting from vandals. A mosaic...'He broke off and searched for words: 'A mosaic which is not looked after is like a rosary whose string is cut. Once one or two tesserae have cone, the whole mosaic falls apart. In a short time everything - everything - is lost.'
William Dalrymple talks with archaeologist Michele Piccirillo in "From the Holy Mountain"

De grenzen van voor 1967

Hij [koning Hoessein van Jordanië] eist de linker Jordaanoever, kortom de West Bank op, eist Jeruzalem op en beroept zich op de Resoluties van de Verenigde Naties... We hebben de Resoluties van de Verenigde Naties al eens geaccepteerd. Namelijk toen ze ons vroegen Jeruzalem te verdelen. Dat was een enorme slag voor ons, maar toch hebben we erin toegestemd. En de gevolgen zijn bekend. Waren wij het soms die het Jordaanse leger aanvielen? Nee, het was het Jordaanse leger dat Jeruzalem binnenviel! De Arabieren zijn werkelijk eigenaardige lui: ze verliezen de oorlog en daarna willen ze eraan verdienen.
En hoort u eens: deze Arabieren wilden naar de grenzen van voor 1967 terugkeren. Als deze grenzen juist waren, waarom hebben ze ze dan vernietigd?
Golda Meïr geïnterviewd door Oriana Fallaci in november 1972. (uit "Interview met de geschiedenis")

The EU contributes to the hollowing out of public life

Wednesday, June 10, 2009Skender
Low voter turnout doesn’t come from any problem of presentation; it is the logical conclusion to the EU’s system of behind-the-scenes political manoeuvring that is seen as unsuitable for public engagement and scrutiny. As a result of this, EU officials come across as they really are: bureaucrats rather than political leaders.
The manipulative and dishonest style of rule-making confirms people’s cynicism towards conventional politics. Worse still, the insulation of decision-making directly contributes to the hollowing out of public life, which far too many people now see as pointless and irrelevant. In such circumstances, movements that are able to politicise people’s anger and dissatisfaction are able to make significant headway.
How EU bureaucrats are destroying public life (Hat tip: Matthias Storme)

Buying peace

Tuesday, June 2, 2009Skender
Belgium is infested with politicians (it has six parliaments for a country of 10m people). That is because public money is used to buy peace in Belgium, whose Dutch- and French-speaking halves increasingly loathe each other. As a result, endless obscure ministers inhabit a world of obscure public bodies, run by political hacks and serviced by a parasitic class of consultants, lawyers and the like—often members of their families.
The Economist May 28th 2009. Hat tip: John Baeyens