Friday, 20 November 2009

Franco is dead!!! Well, 34 years ago that's what Spaniards were cheering about...Today, we have a new brand President for Europe...Federalism in the house of Brussels! National Sovereignty IS NOT DEAD and is compatible with the construction of the EU. Fr

> Date: Fri, 20 Nov 2009 10:44:57 +0000
> From:
> To:
> Subject: [From: Raquel Sertaje] Profile: Herman Van Rompuy, Belgium's Mr Fixit
> Raquel Sertaje spotted this on the site and thought you should see it.
> To see this story with its related links on the site, go to
> Profile: Herman Van Rompuy, Belgium's Mr Fixit
> Ian Traynor in Brussels
> Friday November 20 2009
> The Guardian
> Herman Van Rompuy, Belgium's centre-right prime minister, pulled off the coup of a long political career tonightby ascending to the post of president of the European Council, the new summiteering role established by the Lisbon treaty.
> Known as Belgium's Mr Fixit for his low-key, patient work behind the scenes struggling to hold a fractious country together, Van Rompuy won the bad-tempered contest for the role by making friends and influencing people.
> He has been a fixture in Roman Catholic and Christian Democratic politics for decades, but he shuns the limelight, appears ascetic and austere, and prefers to conduct his politics away from public gaze. Derided by British Europhobes as "Rumpypumpy", the obscure embodiment of an elitist EU mafia bent on demolishing the nation state, Van Rompuy owed his extraordinary triumph to strong support from Berlin and Paris and to the fact that he has not been around EU summits long enough to make any enemies.
> A classicist and economist by education and an alumnus of Belgium's ancient Catholic University of Leuven, Van Rompuy is a committed European federalist, a position that suits the core and oldest EU member states, but raises many eyebrows among east Europeans, Scandinavians, and, of course, the British.
> "Europe has no use for iconoclasts, the old continent is crying out for calm steadfastness," De Standaard, the leading Flemish newspaper, writes tomorrow of the unlikely victory for Van Rompuy. "He will soon be the first president of Europe. Never in his wildest dreams could the Christian Democrat have thought the best was yet to come."
> Van Rompuy has been prime minister of Belgium for less than a year, summoned last December by King Albert II, to try to salvage a country plagued by tensions between Dutch-speaking Flanders to the north and Francophone Wallonia to the south.
> Previously, the king had employed Van Rompuy as the key intermediary cajoling the two alienated halves of the country into shortlived coalitions.
> In an EU that prizes consensus, compromise and operates as a supranational coalition of different countries, interests, and political forces, Van Rompuy's talents for persuasion and conciliation look to be his prime qualifications for the job of chairing EU summits and trying to harmonise the EU agenda. His appointment frustrated those eager to show greater European muscle abroad by giving the job to a household name like Tony Blair. The criticism is that in an international crisis, Van Rompuy does not have the stature to stand alongside Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin, or Hu Jintao and that Europe will be relegated to the second division of international powers.
> Van Rompuy enjoys a reputation for self-deprecating wit. The appearance of modesty is said to mask steely determination, sharp intelligence, and strongly held views which he seldom reveals. He does not suffer fools and can be withering in private about political opponents, say Belgian sources.
> Van Rompuy writes haiku in his native Dutch, and speaks French, English, and German. He is said to take himself off to a monastic retreat once a month. He is credited with easing the tensions which were threatening to tear Belgium apart last year, although he has accomplished that simply by putting off some of the biggest decisions which are the sources of the rancour.
> In his prime role as chair of EU summits, he is likely to be more the servant of European national leaders rather than their master, another factor in his success.
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Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Obrigada Elli!!! This is really good!!!!


Subject: RE: [Raquel's room] OH NOOO...not Brasil...Another Uni where I wouldn't be admitt...
Date: Wed, 11 Nov 2009 12:53:37 +0000

hey Raquel
I think you'll be able to understand portuguese...
please see attachment!

Saturday, 7 November 2009

thanks Robb!!! like your Kantian vision of things!!!


Date: Wed, 4 Nov 2009 15:05:00 +0000
Subject: Re: [Raquel's room] RE: Blurring identities...Is this a secular society or what??...

To be 'educated' under the watchful eye of religious symbols is a contradiction in terms. It is the displaying of a religious symbol in a place of education that constitutes an infringement of human rights. 

I, therefore, agree with and like the idea of the 'domestic sphere' but if by 'domestic' we mean behind the front door of the home what do we do about the interface between the 'personal' and 'public' spheres and the wearing of crucifixes, skull caps, hijab and burka? 

Unlike France, (and strangely enough, the USA, when its constitution was first drawn up - it was in the mid-1950's that Congress added the phrase 'one nation under God' to the Pledge of Allegiance) the UK is not a secular state and has an established religion with the head of state as the head of that religion which therefore becomes almost a state religion (c.f. Iran). 

The implication that is usually drawn from this is that displays of that religion's symbols on the person and in public places is to be accepted.  However, in terms of multiculturalism and human rights it might therefore follow that the display of all religious symbols in the personal and public spheres is to be accepted. 

A follow on from this is that if the established religion has the accepted right to establish its own places of education so should any other religion; hence the proliferation of faith schools as encouraged by Blair (for his own covert/personal reasons?) in which, of course, religious symbols abound.

Which (almost) brings us full circle to the Italian school situation.

The answer?  The disestablishment of the church, the declaration of a secular state and the abolition of all faith schools (oh yes, and the abolition of the display of any religious symbols in schools).

Apologies for the length, I didn't mean to write that much!


Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Wow...replying to the controversies...and Rob..Thans a lot for the comment!! No worries, you can write as much as you like. I love to see people interested in these things!!! THANK YOU GUYS!!!


Subject: RE: Blurring identities...Is this a secular society or what??!! Everyone needs something to hold on to...INTERESTING!!
Date: Wed, 4 Nov 2009 19:12:16 +0000

 Well...I was trying to explain that either in a Religious or Secular society, we are gonna be governed by some sort of creed...and the ones with power, will be the ones dictating what it's right or no...So, when the Romans gave to the lions that bunch of revolutionaries that were destinied to finish the Empire off, they did it fighting with Reason in their mouths. So did the Church when it sent many to the bonfires for preaching science...
 This historical moment is marked by the very same dilema of ideolgcal clashes, with the particularity that right now, state and religion are going through a divorce, instead of getting married!! And, of course, the arena is not so bloody morbidus.
 European kingdoms and the birth of the State were UNARGUEBLY and highly influenced (and impossible to understand without) by the power of the Catholic Church, and succesive wars were fought in the name of God (when we now know tha that was just a nickname for POWER!!)
 The project of the EU that you and me are building right now must try to embrace all nationalities and cultures, and be respectable to their identities and differences. But, are we the citizens matture enough to embrace a Community which higher scope is based on SECULAR DEMOCRACY??
 I'd love to see that. Ant I don't think we should fear to loose what we are.
 I agree it's inevitable to want to hold on to what experience and tradition has dictated as the pilars of our identity, but this one IS NOT FIXED. It's fluent and moves with us, with our efforts to change for the better, and the global village that the digital revolution of the 21st century has helped to create is a good example of it.
Probalby because I am Spanish, and because my country heritage its deeply rooted in cultural hybridity (though 500 years of Catholic rule had made some forget that we once lived in peace with msulims and Jews in the same territory. Our country wouldn/t have been the same with their influnece), I am quite sympathetic towards the idea of the Europe is being created.
 I don't see it as a totalitarian project which political aim is to transform us all in one-dimmensional citizen (if Marcuse allows me to borrow the term).
 I am less pesimistic than that. I think we should encourage the idea of a place where freedoms and rights are protected by a superior idea of a secular democracy.
 And the USA (very religious orientated (in God they trust)...It's just somthing to have in mind to build our own path in a different way. 

Sunday, 1 November 2009

to the conquest....

I didn't open the newspapers today, and the world stopped esixting; it was just me and my friends, runing under the rain in a grey London, trying to avoid the deep pools that were formed in the streets, and swering against the wind that fought our strength to keep the umbrellas straight.
Sunday mornings bring a strange tranquilty to central London and they make me feel out of place. I find myself missing the noise I know I will abandon someday for a quieter horizon where I can free my sight without the tall towers stopping my view.
Sunday mornings are different without the noise of a distant church calling for devoted prayers to gather in the house of God. In here is all about recent made coffe that will never have the taste I want.
In London life is made of shots that pass to quickly, and when things slow down, is when the cold turkey starts to make its effect on my mind.
Will I get used to the time in its normal dimension, without the plans, and the anxieties waking me up at 7 in the morning?
Will I learn once more the implicit rules that you have to absorb when you change of scenario?
Is my curiosity still stronger than my common sense in order to start all over again the incredible adventure of discovering new flavours, new personalities, new cultures?
My will says yes, it is. But my eyes look tyred, dissapointed.
But, like a song I love says "When everything is lost, the battle is won, with all these things that I know".
So maybe it's time to try once more, as I feel I have nothing left to loose and many more things to learn.
And, yes, my dreams are there, untouched by the pass of time, daring to face it without fear, holding me until the pain from the last fall dissapears, whispering to me "never mind. Keep on moving"... waiting. They will always be waiting for me. How could I think I had the right to let them down?
They are the ones who will never abandon me...
The absenta woke them up; she woke me up and condemned me to be restless till I find the place... That place where ideas and reality converge.
And I will conquer it.