Sunday, January 01, 2012

Olympics and Nationalism Revisited.

I have previously expressed my dislike of the nationalism associated with the Olympic games. This BBC article confirms my perception of how the games create national pride.

The study presented in the article also shows that the Olympic games are more important for national pride in developing countries, who probable are more insecure about themselves and their nation, than richer countries. For example 68 % of Kenyans state that the games affects their national pride "a lot", whereas only 19 % of germans state similarly, while 42 % state "not as at all".

It is beyond my understanding, why I should feel pride in Denmark, just because a Danish athlete wins a medal in some obscure sports, such as archery or synchronised swimming, and why such pride should benefit me, Denmark or the world.

Also the lack of national pride in Germany, as related at success at the Olympic games, can arguably be explained with a historical awareness of how the games can be used to boost destructive national pride.

The ridiculousness of the Olympic games affecting national pride is furthermore highlighted by the fact that hardly anyone outside a particular country will notice the achievements of that countries athletes, just as I, prior to reading the BBC article, had never heard of an Afghani athlete winning a gold medal.

Neither does, for example, a Kenyan athlete winning some long distance run create in me a more positive image of Kenya. On the contrary, if anything other than making me uninterested in long distance running, it reinforces a racist stereotype of Kenya as a nation inhabited by freakish people, a stereotype I do not consider to be true.

In short, its time to abandon the nationalism associated with the Olympics, and for the games to be seem as what they are, i.e. games.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

El Classico

The first of this seasons El-classico, i.e. the Real Madrid vs. FC Barcelona match-up, resulted yesterday in 3-1 Barcelona victory. For me, the news of the game only gave rise to a big yawn. The meeting of the two oligarchs of Spanish football, with their millions of armchair fans, is of hardly any interest to me.

Here is a list, in no particular order, of yesterdays results from the football world, which are, in my opinion, of much more interest and significance:

Reading - West Ham United 3 - 0
AFC Wimbledon - Accrington Stanley 0 - 2
Union Berlin - FSV Frankfurt 4 - 0
Maccabi Haifa - Hapoel Haifa 1 - 3
Torino - Pescara 4 - 2
Morton - Partick Thisle 1 - 2
Dundee - Queen of the South 2 - 1
FK Matalac - Partizan Belgard 0 - 3
Moreirense - Belenenses 3 -2
Rott-Weiss Erfurt - Babelsberg 2 - 3
Chacarita Juniors - Rosario Central 1-1
Yeovil - Notts County 1 - 0

Saturday, April 09, 2011

Comment on Mr. Manky's blog

Today I wrote a comment on this blog by "Mr. Manky" . The comment has not been published as it must be moderated first. I have, therefore, rewritten it below:

Mr Manky, while much of your criticism of Denmark and Danish authorities is valid, your comment on Daniel Hornstrup's (DH) case contains three significant errors.

First, the Danish authorities did not annul DH's citizenship, as you cannot annul something that has never existed, or has never been granted. The only thing that was annulled was the erroneously issued passport, which is not equal to citizenship.

Secondly, the granting of an independent residence permit for DH is a mere formality. There are no requirements, other than the formality of applying prior to the age of 18, for residence permits to individuals who have previously resided as minors in Denmark, and who still fulfill the requirements for their previous permit.

Thirdly, the Danish authorities have not taken steps to deport DH. The Immigration Service merely informed DH that failure to apply for an independent residence permit, could result in a deportation order.

What should, therefore, be criticised is not the Danish authorities handling of the case after the passport error was identified, but Danish citizenship law, which does not automatically grant citizenship to children born in Denmark, as well as the points based criteria for granting permanent residency introduced by the government in 2010. It is these mischievous sets of rules, that prevents DH from acquiring permanent residency and Danish citizenship.

N.B. Non-Danish readers should be aware of the misleading translation of "kvajet sig" to "screwed themeselves", in the Google Translate version of the article in Infomration. "Kvajet sig" has somewhat same meaning as "messed up".

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Søren Krarups Misforståelser (Danish)

Below is a response, in Danish, to an article in the Danish newspaper Information, written by Søren Krarup, member of the Danish parliament for the nationalist and anti-immigration Danish Peoples Party.

Det er mange ting Søren Krarup misforstår, og i hans indlæg i Information den 28. januar 2011, er der mindst tre misforståelser.

Først, at politik, menneskeret og jura kan adskilles fuldstændigt, og en udtalelse fra Institut for Menneskerettigheder kan renses for politiske implikationer.

Dernæst misforstår Krarup Eva Ersbøls udtalelse om infødsretsloven af 1776. Det er rigtig, at grundloven bestemmer, at udlændinge alene kan opnå indfødsret ved lov, men grundloven definerer ikke "indfødsret" og "udlænding". For at finde de juridiske definitioner på disse begreber er indfødsretsloven af 1776, og efterfølgende ændringer, af højeste relevans. Det på denne baggrund, at Ersbøls udtalelse skal forstås.

Tredje misforståelse er, at Folketinget, ved at tiltræde FN's konventionen om statsløse personers rettigheder, har tilsidesat grundloven. FN konventation er, som Krarup skriver, ikke lov i Danmark, og indfødsret til udlændinge meddelelse alene af Folketinget. Dog vil det være konventionsbrud, såfremt Folketinget nægter at meddele indfødsret til børn født i Danmark af statsløse forældre. Folketinget skal derfor afgøre, ved hver eneste lov om meddelelse af indfødsret, om det fortsat ønsker, at Danmark skal leve op til sine internationale forpligtelser.

For at hjælpe Krarup af med sine misforståelser, samt sikre at Danmark ikke bryder den konvention som den har underskrevet, ville det derfor være passende, at Folketinget ændrede infødsretsloven således, at børn af statsløse forældre, erhvervede dansk indfødsret ved fødselen, ligesom børn født i Danmark af danske forældre.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Justifications for Israeli settlements

In December 2010 a group of 26 ex-EU leaders wrote an open letter to the President of the European Council, urging sanctions for Israeli settlements. One response to this letter, a comment published on the EU Observer website by Daniel S. Mariaschin, is typical of apologists for Israel.

According to Mr. Mariaschin the letter fails to note the "context, history, or nuance needed to truly understand the situation,". The context and history includes which includes, inter alia, the Palestinian reluctance to return to the negotiating table, Israel's very real security concerns, Palestinian incitement, and the fact that a sizeable portion of the Palestinian population will not even recognise Israel's right to exist. Mr. Mariaschin also states, that the main hindrence for a Palestinian state is Palestinian obduracy,and that Israel, since 1967, repeatedly has tried to exchange the occupied territories for peace.

Even if Mr. Mariaschin assertions are accepted as true,(1) context and history does not, in my opinion, offer a defence for Israeli settlements.The creation of a Palestinian state in the West Bank and Gaza must be seen as the best solution to the Palestianen problem.(2) Israeli Settlements have taken over and divided a significant part of the West Bank, making a Palestinian state non-viable and a borders agreement close to impossible.(3) A state in which the internal movement of people, goods and services are impossible and where the authorities cannot exert control over a unified territory, cannot be considered a state. Context and history does not change this reality.

Israeli settlements, as well as Palestinian obduracy and violence, are hindrances to a two-state solution and defenders of Israel should accept and recognise this.

(1) Mr. Mariachin is also selective in what history and context he notes, failing, for example, to note that Israel closed its borders to approximately 700.000 Palestinian refugees in 1949 and the West Banks borders to approximately 300.000 Palestinian Refugees in 1967.
(2) The one state solution is, in my opinion, a utopian dream.
(3) Mr. Mariachins argument that the settlements make up only 5 % of the West Bank, fails to note that the settlements population is over 500.000 and that the infrastructure of the settlements cut of Palestinian movement and Palestinian control.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Police Chief Comment on Eastern Europeans.

Last weekend, in connection with a recent murder case in Denmark, a Danish police chief in the homicide department, Ove Dahl, was quoted in the Politiken newspaper as saying (my translation):
The open borders results in us being overrun by Eastern Europeans. It's a huge problem. They commit bank robberies, burglaries, serious thief, begging, shoplifting - everything.
The Romanians are unscrupulous. They kill for a couple hundred kroner. It's a completely different culture.
After reading the quote, the vice president of the Radikal Liberal party, Zenia Stampe, reported the police chief for violation of section 266b of the Danish Penal code, which makes public comments degrading or insulting a particular group of persons on account of, inter alia, nationality, an offence.

The next day the police chief appologised, well kind of appologised, for his remarks and Zenia Stampe withdrew her accusation.

What happened next, is the most interesting thing in this matter: The near universal condemnation of Stampe! MP's, members of the public and the rightwing Jyllands Posten newspaper rushed to support of the police chief and disapproval of Stampe. Even the liberal Politiken devoted an editorial to the matter, criticising Stampe and calling the police chiefs remarks 'unfortunate'.

My own thoughts on this matter are somewhat contradictory.

I cannot condone Stampe, as I a disapprove of the inclusion of section 266b in the penal code. Although rarely used and requires a clear degrading statement, e.g. "All .... are vermin", for conviction, the section is an affront to freedom of speech.

I must, on the other hand, be critical of the police chiefs remarks, which in my opinion are xenophobic, even if there is an increased and large amount of crime being commited by Eastern Europeans. If quoted correctly, the police chief, by using general language such as 'being overrun by Eastern Europeans', 'The Romanians' and 'different culture', was not just directing his remarks to those committing crimes in Denmark, but to Eastern Europeans and Romanians in general.

The support for the police chiefs remarks by the politicians, newspapers and members of the public, therefore reveals a deafness to xenophobic language which exists in Denmark.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Baseball v. Cricket (continued)

An anonymous writer recently commented on my blog post Baseball v. Cricket (22. april 2008), where I gave my own subjective views on baseball and cricket. I think the comment by 'Anonymous' has some good points, so I've posted the it below.

I agree with Anonymous arguments, except with the claim that the baseball pitchers delivery is much closer to the batter than the cricket bowlers. The cricket crease is 66 feet long, compared to 60 feet and 6 inches between the pitchers mound and home plate. The popping crease (behind which some point the bowlers foot must be behind at delivery), is 4 feet in front of the bowling crease (on which the stumps stand), making the real disance 62 feet, which is that different to the baseball dimisions. Added to that, the batter stands in front of the crease shortening the distance. Finally, both pitcher and bowler stretches towards the batter, thus shortening the distance the batter.

Like 'Anonymous', I am tired of hearing negative comments on baseball by cricket fans. I should be patient and accept that what I perceive as arrogance and snobbery, is really some sort insecurity.

Anonymous wrote:
In my experience I have found that baseball bashers from many a Commonwealth country also tend to be quite ignorant about the sport of baseball.

There are some key factors that cricket defenders seem to completely ignore:

1) Baseball pitchers consistently throw faster than cricket bowlers

2) A pitcher delivers from much closer than a bowler

3) The surface area of a cricket bat is far greater than a baseball bat, and the flat cricket bat further skews the advantage in favor of the cricket batsmen

5) The cricket pitch configuration greatly skews the contest in favor of a batsman because he can hit anywhere within 360 degrees. In baseball you have boundaries segmenting the field allowing a batsman to only direct the baseball within a 90 degree boundary.

4) So long as ANY contact is made by a cricket batsman, whether it be poor or solid contact, it is most certainly rewarded FAR MORE in cricket than in baseball. In baseball, a player who cannot consistently make solid contact cannot succeed - PERIOD. You can have poor batsmen who can only foul off pitches but never make solid contact in baseball who, if they did the same thing in cricket, may never be put out - particularly if they only need to take half swings, just make contact, and put the ball anywhere they can.


I can appreciate the complexities of cricket. But you get tired of hearing all the arrogant, ignorant snobs who have never tried to even hit a baseball.