SPOTLIGHT: STATE OF EMERGENCY, THE OBVIOUS ANSWER?
If the whole world is always in a state of emergency, does that mean thereâ€™s no emergency? Weâ€™re not quite there yet, but an official â€œstate of emergencyâ€ decree, with additional regulations and the granting of special police powers, is increasingly how governments react in times of crisis.
In Turkey, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared a three-month state of emergency yesterday following Fridayâ€™s failed military coup attempt. Just hours earlier, the French parliament agreed on extending the countryâ€™s state of emergency until January 2017, following the terror attack in Nice. Meanwhile, less reported, was the decision by the government of Mali to extend its own special security regime for 10 more days after armed groups killed 17 soldiers in an attack on a military base Tuesday.
For each of these countries, this means more power for authorities and fewer rights for the people. In Turkey, Erdogan gets radically enhanced powers, such as bypassing parliament when drafting new laws, with the constitutional court unable to challenge him and his cabinet. The government can also wield more repressive powers on the countryâ€™s media, protests and human rights in general. In a country where some 9,000 people have been arrested since the coup and where there are talks about reinstating the death penalty, this is troubling.
In France, the state of emergency has been criticized for its inefficiency. With yesterdayâ€™s extension, in addition to measures such as exceptional powers given to the president and police, authorities will also be able to cancel events that cannot be secured and more easily shut down places of worship that advocate hatred and violence. For Mali, as well, the government has imposed the state of emergency several times over the past year for limited periods, forced to bring it back after yet another terrorist strike. At the heart of these and other examples are apparently conflicting questions: What are the risks to democratic principles of imposing a state of emergency? And, what are the benefits?
WHAT TO LOOK FOR TODAY
- Donald Trump to make his acceptance speech at the RNC.
- New British Prime Minister Theresa May meets François Hollande in Paris.
TED CRUZ REFUSES TO ENDORSE TRUMP
In a speech delivered last night at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, Ohio, Senator Ted Cruz failed to endorse the GOPâ€™s presidential candidate Donald Trump, as The New York Times reports. This caused hundreds of people in the crowd to boo the former candidate, chanting â€œWe want Trump!â€As Cruz wrapped up his speech, Trump appeared thumbs up as he joined his family in a VIP area, in a clear move to steal the spotlight from his fellow Republican.
RUSSIAN ATHLETES BANNED FROM RIO GAMES
The Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) has upheld the IAAFâ€™s decision to ban Russian track and field athletes from the Rio 2016 Olympic Games, in the wake of reports evidencing organized state-sponsored doping in the country. Read more about it from the BBC here.
THREE FRENCH SOLDIERS KILLED IN LIBYA
French President François Hollande confirmed yesterday that three French soldiers had been killed in a helicopter crash in Libya while conducting a an intelligence-gathering mission, with no information as to where and when this happened. According to Jeune Afrique, the Libyan government later accused France of violating its national territory.
â€" ON THIS DAY
From Harry Potter to the IRA and Cat Stevens, hereâ€™s what happened in the world on this day, in 57 seconds.
â€œI went to the ground, I went to the ground with my hands up,â€ Charles Kinsey, a black caregiver at a Miami mental health center, told the television network WSVN after he was shot by police while lying on the ground, arms up, saying â€œthereâ€™s no need for firearms.â€ Kinsey was tending to a 23-year-old autistic man who had escaped from the center when he was confronted by officers responding to the report of a man carrying a gun threatening to commit suicide. â€œIâ€™m like this right here, and when he shot me, it was so surprising. I thought it was a mosquito bite, and when it hit me I had my hands in the air, and Iâ€™m thinking I just got shot!â€
22 DIE IN MEDITERRANEAN
The bodies of 22 people, 21 women and one man, were found on a rubber dinghy by a Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) boat near the Libyan coast yesterday, Reuters reports. The boat, from which 209 people were saved, had just set off for Italy. The victims were found lying in a pool of fuel at the bottom of the dinghy.
In Congo, elegant dandies took the suits and ties of their colonial predecessors and made them their own. For Le Monde, Françoise Alexander explores the fascinating Sape movement: â€œIn the 1970s, La Sape became a protest against the â€˜abacostâ€™ policy ... that was implemented in Congo. In accordance with Zairianization, the official state ideology of the Joseph-Désiré Mobutu regime, wearing a European-style suit and tie was officially forbidden. President Mobutu wore a hat made of leopard fur, a symbol of power in the Bantu population. â€˜In this sense, La Sape was truly a revolutionary behavior,â€™ notes Fonkoua. â€˜It expressed both resistance and the assertion of an African identity with a global outlook, as opposed to Mobutuâ€™s limited, obtuse vision.â€™â€
Read the full article, La Sape, Congolese Dandy Style Born Of Political Protest.
FRANCE ISSUES MICROSOFT ULTIMATUM
The French data protection authority (CNIL) put Microsoft on notice yesterday by ordering the American company to cease collecting excessive data on users through its Windows 10 operating system, Le Monde reports. If Microsoft, a tech giant that had a $93.6 billion revenue last year, does not comply within three months, it could be issued a $165,000 fine.
The low-cost air company easyJet has reported its quarterly revenue has fallen by 2.6% to $1.58 billion, with its shares dropping as as much as 7.6%, according to Bloomberg. The UK-based company says terrorist attacks in Europe, its main market, and the United Kingdomâ€™s decision to leave the EU are to blame.
MY GRAND-PEREâ€™S WORLD
On The Boat Again â€" Jakarta, 1991
U.S. SHUTS DOWN POPULAR TORRENT WEBSITE
Kickass Torrents, one of the most popular torrent-sharing websites, has been offline since yesterday, and its owner, Atrem Vaulin, has been arrested in Poland, International Business Times reports. This comes after a massive operation by U.S. authorities against the website.
MORE STORIES, EXCLUSIVELY IN ENGLISH BY WORLDCRUNCH
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- Chinese Travel Agents Offer "Nostalgia" Tours To North Korea â€" VOA Chinese
A neo-Nazi has been buried in the former grave of a Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender – not an oversight, but a deliberate provocation. This is just one more example of antisemitism on the rise in Germany, and society's inability to respond.
BERLIN — If you want to check the state of your society, there's a simple test: as the U.S. High Commissioner for Germany, John Jay McCloy, said in 1949, the touchstone for a democracy is the well-being of Jews. This litmus test is still relevant today. And it seems Germany would not pass.
Incidents are piling up. Most recently, groups of neo-Nazis from across the country traveled to a church near Berlin for the funeral of a well-known far-right figure. He was buried in the former grave of Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender, a gravesite chosen deliberately by the right-wing extremists.
The incident at the cemetery
They intentionally chose a Jewish grave as an act of provocation, trying to gain maximum publicity for this act of desecration. And the cemetery authorities at the graveyard in Stahnsdorf fell for it. The church issued an immediate apology, calling it a "terrible mistake" and saying they "must immediately see whether and what we can undo."
There are so many incidents that get little to no media attention.
It's unfathomable that this burial was allowed to take place at all, but now the cemetery authorities need to make a decision quickly about how to put things right. Otherwise, the grave may well become a pilgrimage site for Holocaust deniers and antisemites.
The incident has garnered attention in the international press and it will live long in the memory. Like the case of singer-songwriter Gil Ofarim, who recently claimed he was subjected to antisemitic abuse at a hotel in Leipzig. Details of the crime are still being investigated. But there are so many other incidents that get little to no media attention.
The grave of Jewish musicologist Max Friedlaender
Crimes against Jews are rising
Across all parts of society, antisemitism is on the rise. Until a few years ago, Jewish life was seen as an accepted part of German society. Since the attack on the synagogue in Halle in 2019, the picture has changed: it was a bitter reminder that right-wing terror against Jewish people has a long, unbroken history in Germany.
Stories have abounded about the coronavirus crisis being a Jewish conspiracy; meanwhile, Muslim antisemitism is becoming louder and more forceful. The anti-Israel boycott movement BDS rears its head in every debate on antisemitism, just as left-wing or post-colonial thinking are part of every discussion.
Jewish life needs to be allowed to step out of the shadows.
Since 2015, the number of antisemitic crimes recorded has risen by about a third, to 2,350. But victims only report around 20% of cases. Some choose not to because they've had bad experiences with the police, others because they're afraid of the perpetrators, and still others because they just want to put it behind them. Victims clearly hold out little hope of useful reaction from the state – so crimes go unreported.
And the reality of Jewish life in Germany is a dark one. Sociologists say that Jewish children are living out their "identity under siege." What impact does it have on them when they can only go to nursery under police protection? Or when they hear Holocaust jokes at school?
Germany needs to take its antisemitism seriously
This shows that the country of commemorative services and "stumbling blocks" placed in sidewalks as a memorial to victims of the Nazis has lost its moral compass. To make it point true north again, antisemitism needs to be documented from the perspective of those affected, making it visible to the non-Jewish population. And Jewish life needs to be allowed to step out of the shadows.
That is the first thing. The second is that we need to talk about specifically German forms of antisemitism. For example, the fact that in no other EU country are Jewish people so often confronted about the Israeli government's policies (according to a survey, 41% of German Jews have experienced this, while the EU average is 28%). Projecting the old antisemitism onto the state of Israel offers people a more comfortable target for their arguments.
Our society needs to have more conversations about antisemitism. The test of German democracy, as McCloy called it, starts with taking these concerns seriously and talking about them. We need to have these conversations because it affects all of us. It's about saving our democracy. Before it's too late.
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