Thursday, December 10, 2015

The Official End Of Year Post 2015

So it's the end of the year again and I'm writing in my private, not really read-much-by-others blog.

When looking back at the year 2015, there is a personal and a wider way to look at it. In the wider way, 2015 was a year that saw Paris being attacked by terrorists in the beginning of the year and the end of the year. On a not much more encouraging note, more than 1 million foreigners have entered Germany as self-proclaimed "refugees" within a year - the number will likely increase once the dust has settled and the statistics have been cleaned up. Many of these people may be actual refugees, many of them also won't, and most of them are muslims with unclear religious motivs... so we will have to see where this leads us. What we also know is that most of these people have family and expect to bring between 2 and 4 family on average with them once their status here is confirmed. You do the math.

On a personal level though, it was a good year for me. In February, I parted ways with my employer of more than 6 years. Even though things looked uncertain and scary, I found a new job that much better fits my needs. I also got a nice side income from my other blog. Also, I got a big thing out of the way in Summer that had been bugging me for 10 years.

What does the future hold for me? Well, I expect my job to stay as good as it is, hope to keep my side income from my blog the same (or perhaps increase a little), and I just hope that I can get my peace and not get stressed by outside influences, because I just can't save the whole world, sorry. Thanks...

Monday, November 16, 2015

How Racism Increases In Germany

A lot of people hear about troubles in Germany with foreigners, but the truth is very complex and deserves to be mentioned.

Germany is a very open, free society. But it has its limits. The reason that many people protest against migrants have to do with the fact that German politicians are irresponsible to the point where it's basically okay for ANYONE to just enter the country and take what they want: Money, social services, shelter, food. Some of them, as it turns out, are here for the wrong reasons, as the recent terrorist attacks in Paris suggest.

What is actually the problem now? Why do racism and resentments against foreigners increase?

Many problems are to blame for this. One thing that they all have in common: When negative events occur, a person's looks will become important for judging them. Basically, when there are negative feelings against migrants or refugees, people will have a negative attitude towards everyone who looks like they might be a refugee. Whether they are or not.

Here are some examples of why Germans become angry:

1. Dealing with terrorism

When terrorist attacks occur, many German politicians act like they are robots, programmed to utter certain statements. These statements will include phrases such as:

  • This has nothing to do with Islam
  • We have to fight right-wing groups who are against foreigners EVEN MORE now
  • We have to be EVEN MORE tolerant towards migrants
  • Let this terrorist attack not divide our nation
  • Let us show the world that we value tolerance and freedom

When you take a close look, you will see that not only do many of these statements avoid the issue of terrorism, many of them even go in an opposite way as if to say "we caused this by not being tolerant enough, by allowing people to be against foreigners" and so on.

Very few experts have the courage to say that the prophet Mohammed himself killed countless people. It is not politically correct to do so. Few people say loud and clear what is a very sensible fact to me: Not all muslims are terrorists, but all terrorists can legitimately refer to the quran.

2. Benefits for refugees

Germany is one of the few countries that actually accept immigrants not for their brainpower, not for their low labour cost, not for their technology or economic partnerships, but for completely humanitarian reasons.

If the country you live in does not accept refugees and give them food, shelter or even money, then don't complain about Germany being against foreigners because at least we spend a lot of our income to help millions of them. Yes, millions.

Did you know that all these rich oil states don't accept refugees at all? Their explanation: They are afraid this would cause destabilization of their countries.

But there is a problem with Germany's policy. Too much money is spent on this humanitarian act. Not only do refugees get a shabby place to stay, some old clothes and food. No, they get way more then they would even dream of in their home countries. Their standard of living will rise to the level of any lower class German, which includes a tv, furniture, going to the cinema and lots of other leisure activities.

The problem is that many immigrants know this and think to themselves: Let's not be stupid. If we learn the language too fast, they are going to force us to work. But if we "struggle" to learn the language, reject the German values (men not talking to women, not shaking hands, not accepting the equality of the sexes etc.), and if we produce a lot of children (women are free from having to work if having a child under the age of 3), then they will leave us alone.

Not all immigrants are like that, but way too many. And I can't blame them. If I was from one of these countries, and I heard there is a stupid ass country that gives out money, unlimited residence permits and asks for nothing in return because they whites are too rich to care, hell, I'd join the damn trip to Europe.

3. Behavioural problems

Many refugees are far from well-socialised. Some of them show an astounding disrespect not only for authority, but for women. Many Germans have the fatal misunderstanding that ALL people share the same ideas. Germans believe that everyone would want men and women to be equal, for everyone to follow their own religion and for all people to live in peace.

What many of them don't understand is that a lot of muslims come from a different world. In a world where 99 per cent of the people are muslims, it is believed that the islamic god knows best what's good for everyone, and therefore, the devine law is what counts, regardless of personal preferences. This is a very understandable point of view if you happen to live in one of these countries. The idea that the god you believe in is so powerful he must know better than you, is a very logical-seeming argument, if you take the god's presence for granted.

Germans, on the other hand, have been brought up differently. They know that a multicultural society consists of many people of different believes. It is impossible for everyone to have the same opinion on religion, therefore, everyone needs to have the right to live their religion peacefully, because you might be wrong about your own religion as much as your neighbour might be wrong about his.

Many of the muslims don't know this world, so they will take for granted that their own world view is idealistic. This is a fatal flaw and many people who welcome refugees will soon be disappointed to find out what the real deal is.

4. How to define "extremist"

Let me ask you this: What separates a moderate muslim from an extremist?

Maybe you might say that the moderate muslim lives peacefully and respects people of other faiths, while the extremist is violent both physically and emotionally.

But now consider this: What if we don't just talk about terrorism and non-terrorism for a you think it takes a lot to push a moderate muslim into being extremist?

Let's say, for example, you are the father of a muslim family. You have several children, some of them being daughters. Everything is fine and you don't mind one of your neighbours being christian while another one is an atheist.

Now imagine, especially in Germany, what happens if your daughter decides she wants to marry one of these guys... and these guys, believing in their constitutional rights, don't waste a single thought on converting to a religion they would only feel forced to convert to...

I can tell you one thing: A moderate muslim is not just one who refrains from throwing bombs. It takes a lot more to be moderate, but most muslims simply aren't put to the test. And I guess that's another reason why Germany is simply to soft on foreigners.

These were just a few thoughts. I'm emotional about the issue, but still I try not to be racist and instead give every person I see an honest chance at doing what they should do when they are new:

  • learn the language
  • accept our laws because this is where you live now
  • respect our values
  • don't be an asshole

This is already too much asked, though. And if you make these demands in Germany, even Germans will call you a nazi. Now you know why Germany is fucked up.

So why does racism increase? Because many people have negative expectations of you when they see you. It doesn't reflect what you have done in this country, only what other people have done.

Imagine you are part of a minority group in a country. You try your best, you learn the language, you are nice to everyone, you work hard and pay taxes. But all of your countrymen (the ones who came with you into the new land) act like assholes, drink alcohol, destroy shops and insult Jews and women... how would that make you feel and how would people look at you inspite of your efforts?

See... and this is what I hate. The good foreigners, regardless of skin colour and nationality, will suffer because other people are assholes. But in our politically correct society, we can't talk about that.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Stupid Blog Comments

I don't get a lot of comments on this blog, but on my other blog, I get lots of comments, and 95 per cent of them are okay. Even criticism is okay as long as it's grounded on facts or at least opinions without being cynical or in other ways evil.

But every once in a while, an asshole comes by and tries to shit and pee on me at the same time. These people not only state that they personally disagree with me, but they declare from a godly perspective that my statements are all wrong, rubbish or bullshit.

Today for example, the comment I got was something like this:

That's all nonsense. Everyone needs carbohydrates, especially in the morning. It doesn't have to be chocolate spread and buns, but unless we want to lie in bed all day, that's what's important bla bla bla...

When I read this comment, several things immediately become clear to me:

  • This person does self-reflect in the slightest way how her words might make other people feel. In some way, she is violating the golden rule (don't treat others the way you wouldn't want to be treated). Of course, it's not necessary to kiss everyone's ass, as nobody would want that either, but stating one's opinion is possible without totally shoving someone else's opinion up his ass.
  • She obviously hasn't heard of some people actually doing well without carbs, otherwise she would be more careful with such a statement. And these people can even be found on my blog in the comments section.
  • She has not tried and never will try to live without carbs for a serious period of time. She doesn't have the experience to judge the situation. If she ever really tried living without carbs, her attempt failed and she didn't give it enough time, but judging from her style of writing, she is making her judgements from a distance, so she has no idea what she's talking about.

And there is even a difference between how I write and how she wrote her comment. I'm not the person who says "everyone who eats carbs is an idiot". No, and I acknowledge that the truth can be a lot more complex than just a religious "only carbs / no carbs / only fats / no fats" way of life.

But what some people do is just...."nah... that's all bullshit". You know, if that is your opinion then you should just shut up.

I just love it when people only write a comment in order to piss someone off and to demonstrate that they know basic dogmatic rules of thumb... like "carbs are essential for living" or "it's not possible to survive X days without water" without having ever tried anything like that.

I could make it my occupation to just visit EVERY blog there is out there, find something to nit-pick, wrap my negative comment with some dogmatic words, offer no room for another opinion, and just declare that I "know" the truth and there's no discussing it.

And even though it's only less than 5 per cent of the comments I receive, I still always have a bad feeling when I check the comments... because I expect this kind of shit. This is why I'm sooner or later going to close the comments section.

Saturday, October 24, 2015

German Service Culture (2)

This is part 2, part 1 is from July.

Service in Germany has a terrible reputation, and that for a good reason. The German Service Culture is so bad that there is even a word for it. We call it the "Servicew├╝ste Deutschland" (service desert of Germany).

But it would be wrong to just assume that every sector of the service industry is equally bad. So I am going to explain to you how and why there is this terrible reputation in our culture.

Why the German Service Culture sucks

First of all, it doesn't suck everywhere. In industries such as hotels, catering and the like, it is more common to encounter good service. However, politeness and other values don't seem to apply everywhere either.

One contributing factor in assholy behaviour that I noticed is the monopoly effect. The more a company is independent from the market, the more it can afford bad service, here in Germany.

There are examples, and I'm not strictly talking about typical monopoly companies like Microsoft (operating systems for computers). I'm also talking about other kinds of monopolies or "almost monopolies".

One example is the postal service in Germany. There are competitors, but they are very small and can't keep up with the Deutsche Post and its other delivery service, DHL. Therefore, people delivering packages and letters can act like assholes and will. They will accuse people of "ordering too much online" or not answering the door immediately (which may or may not require you to answer the door with a shitty ass and / or totally naked). Even if you want to boycott the postal service, you may not be able to do so, because if you order at Amazon for example, then Amazon decides the postal service for you. In other words: You're fucked.

Another examples is groceries. These companies are not really monopolies, but they are de facto monopolies because customers will not be willing to walk another mile if they are not satisfied with the service. They just want their groceries, which they have to buy again and again throughout everyday life. Therefore, the grocery will notice the need of the customer and not care much about friendliness, or maybe they do, it's all about being lucky with the staff.

What I do notice though in groceries: Restocking items is a big problem and sometimes the policy seems to be: If you don't find your particular food, by something else, ASSHOLE!

Other companies also benefit in this way. Many German cities have their own bus service owned by the respective city administration. If you wanna go somewhere by public transport, there is exactly one company to get you places. Therefore, neither the people selling tickets in shops nor the bus drivers need to be marketing or service experts.

Another problem arises here which is easy to explain when talking about bus drivers. And this problem is that many people who, in other countries, should have some sort of service skill, just don't. Because they need different skills. It's hard enough to become a bus driver, so the preferred skills that bus drivers should have are: driving licence for busses, driving well, being on time... no friendliness needed. In other countries, an impolite bus driver will be forced out of the market by 10 nicer people being willing to take over the job. But not here.

Maybe employee right in Germany also play a role in this. It's very difficult to get rid of someone who has been with a company for more than, let's say, 2 years. And you can't just fire someone without a reason.

How to deal with bad service

Since the German culture is very weird, it's not easy to deal with bad service. One thing you should do if you have the chance: Immediately go to a competitor and spend your money there. It is the most direct and useful way to punish bad service. If this is the case, you can combine this punishment with talking to the idiot's boss. Only then will talking to a supervisor have an effect, because if you're dealing with a monopoly, complaining about bad service doesn't have negative consequences because you WILL spend your money there.

If you can't get around spending money at the company with bad service, you must try other ways. You can make the company look bad online, for example. There are also illegal ways to piss of individual people, but so far I haven't come to the point where I actually wanted to take personal revenge, but it could happen. It requires some sort of endurance and willpower, for example you could find out where the person lives and then it's all up to your personal revenge fantasies. You could try all kinds of things and basically all you have to do is make the person look bad without anyone noticing it's just some background manipulation done by somebody else - you.

And then there's waiting for them in the dark at night... but that's another story.

Okay, all of this was OF COURSE for sarcastic reasons. I do not encourage anyone to take illegal actions bla bla bla... Okay, did I save my ass in legal terms? Thank you. Bye.

Sunday, September 27, 2015

Refugees Welcome, IF...

Ah, isn't it beautiful... a country with a dark Nazi past is able to reach absolution from all its sins via mass import of so called "refugees" (term used by German media) or "migrants" (term used by other media). Makes you feel all warm inside.

Many of you know about the ups and downs here in Germany, how people either protest against immigrants or welcome them with all their heart. Today, I want to talk about them.

And there is so much to talk about, I don't even know where to start...

First of all, it should be worth noting that Germany is the kingdom of refugees. No other country accepts as many as Germany, and this year we are expecting about a million of them. A million! We are 82 million and one more million is coming in.. that's quite an increase and it costs us a lot of tax Euros!

The other thing is, we accept more than we have to. You see, Germany is part of the European Union (EU), where laws of the EU should apply and determine where the refugees are sent to live while their countries suffer from civil wars and other bad things. But the truth is, none of these laws are effectively working, instead all the other European countries just let the refugees go where ever they want to go... which is Germany, the land of milk and honey. Because Germany has the best social circumstances for poor people. So while the refugees should be distributed almost equally, we accept more than 50% of them (and we have more than 20 countries in the EU, I think).

And also, a very important point: Rich oil states (all of them islamic) refuse to accept refugees. These refugees have the correct mentality, culture and religion, yet the Emirates, Saudi Arabia or Bahrain don't give a damn. But then on the other hand, if people in Germany even voice the slightest concerns over the current German pollicy of "everyone is welcome", they are called Nazis.

So here are some of my concerns, and yes, I am deeply concerned:

  • I am predicting that a vast number of the immigrants are not qualified, nor will they ever be, as they don't adapt or want to adapt to a German life
  • The German government is using false arguments for letting the refugees in. They say "we need immigration because we need skilled workers", but we are only accepting refugees for humanitarian reasons, not because they are skilled. Only few of them are doctors, engineers etc.
  • Many of the people who come to Germany aren't even refugees, they are MIGRANTS who want to escape poverty. While that in itself is okay, it applies to 90 per cent of the people in the world. WE CAN'T HAVE THEM HERE! Sorry!
  • Many of these immigrants are everything but Syrian or everything but in danger. Many who are Syrian come from camps in Turkey, where they are safe yet poor. Others are from safe African states who pretend to be Syrian to get a visa.

There are more factors, but only people who actually live in Germany can understand. One thing you all need to know: Germany is EXTREMELY politically correct. For example, the German courts have a very distinctive definition of what a "dignified existence" is - the term used for the lowest acceptable standard of living. And the lowest standard of living includes not just food and a place to stay, but even enough money for social and cultural interactions (cinema, restaurants etc.)

Also, Germany pays a lot of money in social services. People can be unemployed all their lives and refuse to work, yet they will always receive rent money and a safe income. Whenever immigrants last long enough to stay in Germany forever, they CAN get all these benefits.

Also, their is a climate of fear involving possible comments that are against foreigners. In other words: The media and politicians always have a biased view that is in favour of foreigners (immigrants, refugees). This leads to absurd situations and opinions. People are scared to be "against foreigners" because that would mean they are Nazis. It is completely inacceptable to propose policies such as the ones used by Australia (rejecting all boats that are coming towards the shore).

Instead, all foreigners are portrayed as an improvement to our society. The most used term is "bunt" (colourful), which not only means colourful as in skin colour, but also in terms of cultural and religious diversity. What many people totally ignore is that many of the opinions that foreigners bring into the country are very one-sided and not in acceptance of a pluralist society.

Here are some things that I see as a condition before I can say "refugees welcome":

-Learn the language! Do it! Learn German. It doesn't have to be fast, or perfect, but it's your duty if you want to live here. We offer these courses for free!
-Accept our values. You don't have to give up your religion or anything, but you must accept that women have equal rights here. And yes, that goes for your wife too!
-At least TRY to support yourself. Yes, I know that it's okay in Islam to have many many kids as long as the money comes from SOMEWHERE, but at least try to give something back to the country that saved you
-If you are only coming to Germany for financial reasons, stay away. We only want qualified people, REAL refugees or people who come for other accepted reasons (studying, marriage, tourism etc.)

What may sound harsh to you as a reader at first, is what is completely normal and not even in need to be mentioned elsewhere (where you live).

Look at the policies applied by Canada, Australia or the USA. These countries want skilled workers, that's why they have their green cards and shit. And I'm sure they look twice when they accept a refugee. They know they get a lot of trouble 20 years down the road.

I've seen a lot in my life, and the consequences of what happened decades ago are visible today. Whatever Germany does these days will be visible in 20 years from now. And I'm not looking forward to it... sorry.

Saturday, August 22, 2015

Beating The System

For the past 9 years, I have been worrying, thinking and cursing regarding a specific problem I had. This problem is now solved. However, if I had asked my former self, 9 years ago, if I believed the problem could even be solved, my former self would have answered "impossible".

Although I'm a very logical person and I know how to come up with ideas on how to get out of difficult situations, this one specific problem has been costing me a lot of hours of sleep, a lot of nerves and brought me a lot of stress.

In order to solve the problem once and for all, I had to think way outside the box. The solution was never inside the box. It was always outside. And the reason for that is that each "solution" would have eliminated the desired effect in one of two opposing parties. In order to achieve the desired effect, I had to please two parties at the same time, which was impossible inside the box.

If I did what party A wanted, party B would be displeased.
If I did what party B wanted, party A would be displeased.

And when I talk of party A and B, I am not talking about outsiders alone, I'm also involved in the whole thing and have things I absolutely don't feel comfortable with.

So what was the out of the box solution?

Doing something I feel good about, which one of the parties will be okay with, and making the other party believe they got what they wanted.

This would go both ways, so I could fool any party, however, I have to feel right about it, so I would not fool anyone I believe doesn't deserve to be fooled.

The only thing I realized: It doesn't ever really end, the problem. I mean, the MAIN problem is solved, but it still never really ends. Questions keep on coming.

You can compare it to the expectations that parents have for their children:

  • First, you must finish school... at least graduate in some way. You can still suffer from depression and/or don't know what to do AFTER that
  • At least, get a job training and finish it. You must have a qualification to have a chance on the job market. If you are too old, you won't be able to get a job training. AFTER that, you can have a depression, fall sick, go to hospital or do any of the other useless things like trying new things or finding out what you were born to do with your life.
  • Now that you have a job training, you have got to get a job quickly. If you don't make that step now, you won't have what every job advertisment calls "experience". Once you have at least some experience, you can still do a sabbatical AFTER all this, have your depression, all of that other stuff.
  • You have to get married. It's now or never. We'll leave you alone AFTER that.
  • Now that you are married, aren't you going to have kids within the first 12 months of getting married? We'll leave you alone AFTER that.
  • Make sure you raise your child according to our religion. And don't ever let it marry into another religion. We'll leave you alone AFTER we're sure that everything is alright.

And I'm sure the list goes on, as I will watch it go on with age...

My point is, whatever you do, people will still ask questions and not leave you alone. You could spend your whole life doing what other people want you to do or pretending to do so.

The difference is, I want to draw the line here. I've done enough things now (or pretended to do so) and now I say: "I'm drawing a line in the sand, dude, across this line, YOU DO NOT..."

Sunday, July 19, 2015

German Service Culture

If there was only one thing I would tell tourists who want to come to Germany, it's that you should be prepared to face unbelievably bad service.

Out of all the salespeople, cashiers and other people who sell you goods and services, about 75 % just act the way they feel like acting (in accordance with their own character), 20 % will act artificially nice in a way that's embarrassing and only 5 % will be people who are authentic, polite and passionate about their job.

Here are some examples of how Germans act when selling goods:

  • I want to buy a bus ticket. Since I'm not sure that the person selling the ticket understood what I said, I repeat what I said. She looks at me in an irritated way and already argues that she knows what she is doing. I try to calm down the situation. When I thank her for the ticket, she makes the fakest smile in the world before her deformed lips drop to a sinister evil face like bricks thrown from a building.
  • Bus drivers are often assholes. They make cynical remarks, like to prove other people wrong or explain that they're not in need of knowing or doing anything other than driving around.
  • We were going to visit a place that sells cuckoo clocks, but as it turned out, the place had been closed for 6 years. Why did we still go to that very distant place? Because the website had not been properly updated. And not even the shop itself had any sign of being closed down. The people who went bankrupt simply didn't care about any visitors who were going to come there... if the place is shut down, why the fuck care about anybody? It's not like we can suck the money out of their pockets, so we don't have to give a shit about these people who travel far and wide.
  • A guy in a postal office, selling stamps. My lady asks about a certain type of delivery service, he says that the package is too heavy, so "we don't even have to discuss this"... what a nice way of saying "sorry, it's not possible because the package is too heavy".
  • Trying to buy anything in the grocery that is out of stock... the reaction is always "Hammm wa nich!" (we don't have it).

Now you might be wondering, how can German service people actually get away with this kind of behaviour? Well, I have some theories. First of all, Germans are people who just have the tendency not to complain too much. You can see this in the current financial crisis (Greece) or the migrant movements from Africa (so called "refugees"). Germany will happily pay any amount of money you want, and if you think you don't get enough, just call us Nazis and remind us of our war crimes and our neverending guilt that we just can't wash ourselves clean of. I mean, we are so fucking doomed we might as well commit suicide in gas chambers (sorry for the sarkasm).

The other thing is, German companies seem to take advantage of some sort of "supply mentality". This means that if your company is offering a service, it's quite likely that people are buying from you because buying from somewhere else takes too much effort. For example, you are going to buy at your local grocery, not the one that's twice the distance away. Or you are going to repair your PC at the nearest repair shop, not further away. Or if your grocery doesn't have garlic sauce or vanilla yoghurt, you'll be fine with chili sauce and strawberry yoghurt.

Sometimes, like when it comes to bus companies, you don't even have a choice. There is only one bus service, so your only other choice is buying a car. So fuck you if you think our bus drivers and salespersons are unfriendly. We can't afford the extra training in customer friendliness.

What's even more appearent is the fact that a person only has to be nice when the job description absolutely demands it. People who work in a hotel know they MUST be friendly because it's part of the job. But bus drivers and cashiers are usually seen as people who perform other actions than customer interactions. Bus drivers are there for driving, cashiers are there for receiving and handing out money in order to sell goods. They don't have a purpose such as binding the customer to the company, achieving identificatoin or silly rubbish like that.

So that's what you should be prepared for... and if you know that Germans are VERY direct, then you can perhaps arm yourself for some of the unfriendliest behaviour in the world.

Seriously, don't be surprised if you look for something in a shop and you get the "what do you want" response. It's just our way of saying "hello, you seem to be looking for something, how may I help you (for the sole purpose of making your wallet grow lighter)?"

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Marit Larsen In Hildesheim 2015

I first met Marit Larsen in 2005 in a hotel in Oslo, then again in 2009 during a concert in Hannover. Now, I watched her concert in Hildesheim last night, on June 26 2015. And I have a lot to tell.

To me, going to a Marit Larsen concert is a weird experience. The reason for this is that I was very privileged when I first met her in 2005, which was 10 years ago. The special part about it was that I was, without a doubt, the biggest German Marit fan at the time, maybe even the only one. Also, she gave me permission to meet her in person and then walk around, sit down at a cafe and talk.I spent more than one hour with her then, and it's something you simply can't beat or repeat.

This is the reason why, whenever I walk into a situation where I get to see Marit perform, there is a lot of nostalgia in me. It makes me want to go back and tell her all the things that have been happening in my life because of her. For instance the fact that I met my wife only because we were Marit Larsen fans (and lived far apart from each other - Germany and Singapore!).

The first time meeting her was unbelievable. The second time was also very good. It was in a concert in Hannover, and afterwards, she took the time to talk to all the fans. Back in 2009, the venues were small because nobody knew she would end up #1 in the charts that year. So we talked a little, I gave her a letter stating that I was going to get married to a girl I met in the Marit Larsen chatroom, and she even said she might be playing at our wedding! Can you believe that? Well, it eventually didn't happen but hey, it's amazing we even talked about it and I got the chance to send my thoughts and messages to her and to let her know what kind of impact she had on my life.

But I also want to tell you about tonight, about Hildesheim and her concert there. It was great. It was for free. And you know what the best thing was? Although I went there without any expectations, knowing I wouldn't meet her in person again, she saw me and my wife! Let me tell you about it...

Before the show started, I had this feeling it would be useful to sneak around the stage and see if I can take a look into the backstage area from a distance. And indeed, there was a small gap in the fencing where I could look through. And there she was, tuning her guitar in preparation for the concert. Then it happened: In what felt like slow motion, she suddenly turned her head and looked at my wife, then me, and waved at us. I'll probably never know whether she identified me, saw a familiar face or simply thought of us as fans. What I do know is: She acknowledged us, because we were the only people looking at her in that very moment. Wow!

So that was more than I was hoping for. Of course it's kind of heartbreaking not being able to tell her the whole story... how things turned out. Last time (2009) I did manage to tell her I was getting married and that it was "because of you" in some way. But it would have been great to be able to say "hey, remember me? I'm still here".

At one point during the concert, Marit Larsen said that one song made all those German fans aware of her, and that it was "If a song could get me you". She also said that probably nobody in the audience knew her before 2009, which is of course wrong. I would have loved to make that clear. I've been her fan since 1999, and on that night, last night, there were at least two of us who were fans from day one. Let the world know this!

What is there left to say? Well, somehow it's still hard not being able to tell her what kind of inspiration she has been... I mean, to tell her that the impression is still lasting. After all these years. But you know... I'm half a year older than her, and as we both grow older, maybe there will be a time when all the hype, all the marketing and all the record sales will be a little more "moderate"... when things are a little more like they used to be... and if, by any chance, she plays at a really small club, maybe I'll be there. And who knows, maybe some of the other hardcore fans from the Phillipines and elsewhere will make it possible to let Marit know that " The first Generation"  is still around... the first generation of Marit Larsen fans...

Looking weird...

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Michael Schumacher - Full Retard Or Chilling On Couch Watching F1?

Since Michael Schumacher's almost fatal accident in the winter of 2013, a lot of time has passed. Enough time, it would seem, for his family and manager to catch their breaths, take a time out from all the media hype, and even for the media to calm down. Enough time to wait and let them decide when to tell us the whole story about Schumacher's mysterious state of health, which all fans are eager to hear about.

I felt it was okay to give them time. But now, after one and a half years, my patience has come to an end. When I almost lost hope of ever hearing anything about the case, there is news. Finally! On May 22nd 2015. So what's the big news? How is Michael Schumacher recovering? Let's hear it from his manager, Sabine Kehm:

We are glad to say that he is making steady progress, considering the severity of his brain injuries.

What? That's it? This is the same bullshit we heard ever since we knew he was out of hospital. Look, I know that Schumacher is a private person, one who deserves his own privacy and all, but would it really hurt the family so much to just release some information about his general state of health? I mean, this guy won 7 world championships in Formula 1, so he is a worldwide icon with fans everywhere, and all they are asking for is to know stuff like this:

  • Can he talk?
  • Can he walk?
  • Does he know what has happened to him?
  • Can he remember his life from before the accident?
  • Is he returning to a normal life or will he be permanently impaired?
  • Does he know what is going on in Formula One?

Simple things like that. It's not like we are asking about his sex life or how terrible everything is for the family.
What's even weirder is that the family does seem to cope with things very well. Schumacher's son, for example, is becoming a race driver, and the media are watching his career already.

Why do they make such a big deal about it and keeping it a secret? I'm not asking for a photograph of Schumacher in a wheel chair, just tell me how he is!

With all due respect to privacy and the family, after all the support the family got from fans, it would be decent enough to just give one small update. One news conference where questions can be asked and answered.

Instead, we're all left to wonder what life is like for Schumacher in his home in Switzerland. Some people suggest "he is driving races again, but only in a bobby car" while others might think he is perfectly fine, chilling on the couch watching every formula 1 race and enjoying his privacy like a person who faked his own death.

My personal guess is that Michael Schumacher's injuries are so severe that too much speculation and would follow if they released any information. And especially the yellow press would feast on the sadism of permanent disabilities, the horror of having a disabled "former shadow of himself" world champion at home.

So that's my guess. But in all honesty, I think the world deserves closure.

Thursday, May 07, 2015

Yellow Press Brings Dead Man Back To Life

I really hate the so called yellow press, a branch of journalism that only aims at sensational news, lots of underserved attention and no payoff.

Dead man rising
Usually, they present very badly-researched material, like turning a celebrity's slight cold into a life-threatening disease, or turning the death of someone's pet dog into a big drama that can ruin entire careers.

A german magazine really deserves an award for what they did just now. They wrote an article about a tv host where they really worried about his health. The title says "shock diagnosis: how bad are things for him?".

In the article, they say that his family is watching over him, that he's in a life-threatening condition after some heart surgery.

What nobody (NOBODY!) at the editor's office seems to have noticed: If that guy actually was in a life-threatening state, that would be a huge improvement to his current state: being dead for one and a half months.

I can understand that yellow press magazines don't care about actual facts, that they're really lousy with their research and that they know very well that they fool a lot of people. But it takes a whole new level of ignorance and stupidity to actually write a story that's way too old, and to print it, and not to have ANY 15 year old intern read the stories just to avoid mistakes like this one.Well, I suppose they're just too busy doing their research for new stories...

Wednesday, April 01, 2015

Happy April Fool's Day

Isn't it the most beautiful day of the year again? The only day of the year when you have a good excuse not to turn on the tv, not to watch any news, because hey - you only get fooled all the fucking time!

I always thank heavens when April 1st is on a weekend because then I don't have to go to work and meet people who might (just might) fool me. It's the constant alertness that annoys me... knowing that someone MIGHT pretend to fire you etc.

So what are the funny, most hilarious April Fool's jokes this year? Well, let's see...

  • John Lennon's first wife "Cynthia Lennon" died. That's hilarious! We all know he only had Yoko Ono as a wife.
  • Oil platform in Mexico exploded - 4 dead at least. Ha ha... funny! Mexico doesn't even have a sea, right? It's that desert-like place south of America.
  • Reports claim cell phone video from Germanwings plane crash exists - Hahaha! Yeah, right. A while ago you said that everyone on board was pulverised in the crash, and now you're talking about an intact cell phone memory chip. Rolling on floor laughing!
  • Athen refuses to pay back money - yeah, right! Good joke. Surely the European Union would not be stupid enough to lend billions of euros to a country that's not willing to pay anything back. I mean, what kind of goverment would be THAT stupid, huh? guys have a wild imagination. Who's gonna fall for that?
  • IS conquers refugee camp - what a weird joke. Why would a terrorist organisation be interested in conquering a camp of poor, helpless refugees with no strategic value? That's like Germany trying to conquer the whole world and engaging in a war both to the east and west.

As you see, April Fool's Day is when everyone goes crazy with unrealistic news reports. The only weird thing must be when real stuff happens on that day. I mean, you wouldn't want to be a celebrity who dies on that day. Imagine if Justin Bieber actually dies on April 1st and everyone is like "yeah right, lol rofl kek" etc.

Well, I don't know what actually happened, but since it's April Fool's Day, they might as well announce that World War III started... I won't believe it anyway.

Sunday, March 08, 2015

Anti-Discrimination Intervention Programme (ADIP)

Maybe you have noticed the social and political change in our world in the past 20 years. A long time ago, disabled people were just outsiders, refugees were "bottom of the barrel" in the countries they fled to, and the poor had nothing to say.

Nowadays, things are different. With all the political correctness, everyone needs to be equal - in case of doubt, even more equal than the rest.

Sometimes, the urge to make all people as equal as possible reaches new levels that are more and more absurd. When terrorists kill themselves in the name of Islam, for example, politicians are eager to point out that all of this has nothing to do with the "true" Islam, while then pointing out on a different occassion that "there is not just this ONE Islam". So which one is it, now?

Then, there is inclusion. The idea that disabled people (mentally or physically disabled people) should be included in every possible aspect of our lives. This means that they should be granted access to our education system, which means they should visit the same schools as "normal" people regardless of the disability.

All of this is fine. However, when political correctness goes crazy, it makes things worse for the other people, the majority. So much consideration is put into the minorities that the majority always has to step back and let the small groups catch up, or get the extra respect they supposedly deserve.

In order to promote anti-discrimination and just "finish" this whole thing about equal rights etc. etc., I came up with my own programme, the anti-discrimination internvention programme (ADIP). It's supposed to give EQUAL rights to EVERYONE. And I am making no exceptions here.

These are my key points in order to make the world a better place:

  • Animal rights:

Humans are so selfish. They only think about themselves and the genocides among their own species. They totally oversee the fact that we are just 7 billion people, and the rest of the world consists of endless numbers of mammals, bacteria, insects and so on. All these beings require rights!

One striking example: lions tend to kill their babies in various situations. These situations may occur when:

  • a disabled lion baby is born
  • a new "alpha male" enters the group and kills its predecessor's offspring
  • a baby is too weak to assert itself and compete against other babies for the mother's milk

We urgently need NATO troops to enter these barbaric areas and bring peace to the animal world. I postulate refugee camps for abandoned cubs, inclusion classes and education for lion parents, punishment and rehabilitation for alpha males who murder, and most of all, an environment that is friendly towards disabled, three-legged lion cubs. The savannah ground is not flat enough and full of grass, which is an outrageous discrimination against disabled animals.

  • Plant equality:

Plants are also living things that deserve rights. In the jungle, however, many plants act like the world belongs to them, like it's a "competition" about who gets the most sunlight. This egoistic excrescence of capitalistic proportions must be put to an end.
We must reverse the principle of "survival of the fittest" because equal opportunities is the new agenda. Therefore, trees that exceed the maximum allowed length will be cut, and small plants will be granted a specific amount of sunlight in order to guarantee equal chances. We simply can't allow anarchy here!

  • Aquatic life act:

Animals and plants under water are, by default, discriminated against because of the little sunlight they get because of all the water. There is too much chaos down there. Stuff grows over other stuff, plankton darkens the surface of the bottom of the sea, and some animals like orcas even display sadistic behaviour towards seals. Re-education will be necessary, among many other things.

  • Vegetarian act:

Maybe half of the animal world thinks that it is okay to kill other animals for food. We must put an end to this barbaric behaviour. The conflict between zebras and lions will never be solved with violence. If we don't understand this, we will never have true "world peace".

Yes, I know, predators have sharp teeth and can't really grind grass that well, but then again, who said that it will be easy to implement freedom and equal rights? Everyone has to sacrifice something in order to make the world a better place.

Also, some vegetarian animals display horrific behaviour towards plants. Elephants and locusts sometimes destroy entire plants without giving them a chance to grow back. This greedy, purely capitalistic behaviour can only be stopped with intervention troops, better education for animals and, in general, more influence from humans, taking control and showing these animals how to do things right.

ADIP is on its way. Let's make the world a better place. We don't have much time.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Idealism, Identity And Purpose In Life

I just came to the realisation last night that there are a couple of things that define a person. Yes, this is another of my philosophical posts...

Usually, we live our lives in a seemingly stable way. It doesn't really seem like taking away or adding a few things might change a lot. We think we are strong and have a lot to live for.

But the question occured to me last night: How much does it really take to change a meaningful life to a meaningless life? Let's assume, for instance, that the three (four, five) most important things of my life were taken away from me - how much would this affect me?

  • To some people, their profession means everything to them
  • To some people, their relationship means everything to them
  • To some people, their religion means everything to them
  • To some people, their ideals and values mean everything to them
  • To some people, their wealth means everything to them
  • The list goes on...

And of course there are things in between. Some people will go into deep depression if a spouse or other family member dies, while there is still a perceived "10%" left somewhere else, for example in money or religion or perhaps another family member or friend. It could be anything.

The vast majority of people will not depend 100% on one thing. But it is likely that most of us, I assume, will depend on perhaps three or four things. If you take these away, suddenly life is not worth living any more, you might be surprised to find out. The house of cards collapses.

Right now, this is just a theory, but the thought has occured to me that I might be right about it.

If I had to define what the most important things in my life were, it's not even an easy question to answer. Not only do I have to define what means a lot to me, but also how I would react IF these things were taken away from me, to which I might actually react differently than I think I would.

But anyway, just for the sake of curiousity, let's assume that these are my three "things":

  • My love relationship
  • My ideals, the moral values that define me
  • My financial security and accomodation

If you need one more thing, add health. Because you would be surprised how much things change for you when your health declines seriously.

The interesting thing about my life is that it doesn't need to feel special and still feels worth living. For example, I've been playing the same video game since 2010 although it's pretty pointless. But still, there are things that make me want to live. Just to give you an idea that my priorities and demands are not too extreme.

So let's assume that I lose my most important things... how will this affect me?

To be honest, I think that there isn't a lot that would keep me strong. In other words, I might lose my will to live.

Then again, if I only lose ONE of these things, does that mean that everything is still okay? No, I might be one third dead, for example. And losing two of three things makes you more dead than alive, I guess.

So recently, there has been a thing that's been bothering me. I would rather not mention it here because it's a forbidden topic, but it has to do with "my ideals, the moral values that define me".

I am not one of the people who define themselves mainly through their work, and I can also stay home most of the time and not lose my life's meaning at all. But when it comes to my values, I take much more pride in them than most people would be able to understand. I'm very idealistic deep inside and I can accept that nobody gets this.

At the moment, my values are under siege by a very dark force. It's trying to corrupt what I stand for. The dilemma is that I can't just defend the attack without losing something else in return. So whatever I do, there is a risk I lose something.

If I "sell" my values and make a joke out of myself, I will not be the same person any more.
It's ironic that "changing your name" is sometimes both a metaphor for and an actual part of losing your identity, but I digress...
Integrity is important to me: to not only believe, but to act according to my beliefs. When I watch the news, I want to be able to have my own opinion about the news and at the same time know that I LIVE my opinion, too.

We are not mere animals. Animals just live, follow their instincts, and do what is necessary to protect themselves and their species. They don't require a deeper meaning or agenda for their existence. But I do.

I have values. And if I give up my values, what am I then but an empty shell? Yes, I would still have a heartbeat, and I could still silently whisper to myself what I think, but I would know deep inside that I never even stood for my beliefs. And every time something unjust happened in this world, I would know that I couldn't be the one to make claims, because hey, I can't even follow the rules I set for myself.

My ideals define my identity. It's what makes me "me". I decided not to live for my job, not for a child, not for my country. But at least I want to be able to have my freedom and take pride in it.

If I lose my ideals, then I'm wondering what's even good enough any more. THIS is the reason why I can't sleep well at night.

This is a principle that people should be able to relate to. Here are examples for this:

  • Why play a game that's so easy it bores you?
  • Why turn on the computer if it only crashes?
  • Why care for a pet that only bites you, is afraid of you and will never build a relationship with you?
  • Why keep a job that only frustrates you?

I'm scratching the surface of some of these questions. I don't feel obliged to keep my empty shell functioning if it's only for the sake of other people - to make them believe I'm still okay, still a normal person, still willing to live.

Don't get me wrong: I CAN sell my values at a nice price. But there is a reason why there is the term "selling your soul". It really means something, and I don't even mean that in a religious sense.

Sunday, February 01, 2015

Bus Driver People

Every once in a while, on February 1st, I come up with a "people list". This is a list of different persons that are, in some way, stereotypical. See my other lists: Bus People and Grocery People.

This year, it's again about bus people, but more specifically about bus drivers. Here are the stereotypes I have noticed in my years as a person using public transport.

1. The Asshole

Let's start off with the most charming of them all, the asshole. This guy is uniquely evil. While other bus drivers may just make a bad impression by leaving people behind who are a little late at the bus stop, or who didn't press the "stop" button in time, the asshole is amazing by being just extremely evil for the sake of it.

This kind of guy does a couple of things that define him, including:

  • using impolite language ("get the hell away from the door" or stuff like that)
  • making people pick up trash they didn't put there in the first place
  • asking you to give him coins YOU found lying on the floor
  • Splashing water from the road onto pedestrians that are walking on the sidewalk (on purpose)

There are more examples and if you ever think to yourself "what an asshole", then you know which category the bus driver fits in.

2. The Fat Ass

This guy is a couch potato on wheels. And a fat one at that. This guy is so fat, it makes you wonder how he even fits into his driver seat. The guy is so morbidly obese that you get a very uneasy feeling entering the bus. After all, you are putting your life into the hands of a person who might suffer a heart attack any time.

3. The "Don't Give A Shit" Guy

This guy only drives around in a car because that's what he gets paid for. He doesn't identify with what he does for a living, he doesn't even look at you when you show him your bus ticket, and if there are dozens of people entering through the back door (when it's the policy of the bus company to not allow that), he doesn't give a shit at all.

Usually you would think that this is not such a big problem. But when you are used to showing bus drivers tickets, and some of them don't even care to look, it can make you feel stupid. Especially when some bus drivers, as you will see now, are the exact opposite.

4. The Super Nerd

This guy takes his job way too seriously. He will never allow people at the back to ENTER the bus, thus forcing people who want to get off the bus to stay inside until all the people who were trying to enter at the back actually realised they will only get on the bus by walking past the bus driver at the front.

If people ever manage to sneak in at the back door, the nerdy driver will use his microphone to scream and shout and order that person to report at the front door.

This kind of bus driver will also check bus tickets very thoroughly, even to the point where he argues about price policies and how readable your signature on the ticket looks, or how the ink looks bad and all that stuff. Hard to explain but if you have been there, you know what I mean.

5. Punctual, no matter what

This driver has some nerdiness in his genes. He will be punctual like crazy. Sometimes even over-punctual which means that you are going to miss your bus because you were not at the bus stop 1 or 2 minutes before the time the bus was supposed to be there. Congratulations.

The driver will also never stop his bus for people who are late and waving with their hands like crazy. Even when someone wants to enter at a red traffic light, the driver will not allow that, partly because "it's against the rules", but mostly because he doesn't want to risk anything.

6. Late and doesn't care

The opposite of #5 is this type of vehicle maneuverist (just trying to come up with another word for bus driver).

Do you know what it's like when your bus is definitly much too late and you're confronting the driver with this fact? If you do, then you know what the responses can be. Sometimes it's just shrugging, other times it's explainations like "tomorrow it's going to be the summer holidays anyway". Well, how does that help you when you have to go to work/school TODAY???

7. Losing his way

Despite driving around all day in a circle like a race driver, just much slower, some drivers actually manage to totally drive the wrong way. I've been in situations when it took passengers (!) to inform the bus driver that he was going the wrong way.

Sometimes the vehicle maneuverist is just too inexperienced, other times he is just a little asleep. But there is an even worse and more common way of being asleep.

8. Sleepyhead

When you want a bus door to open, you have to apply some sort of rocket science. First, you have to press the stop button anywhere inside the bus. Then, before the bus comes to a halt, you must press the corresponding "stop / open door" button at the door of your choice. Then, when the bus stopped, you must press that button repeatedly and rapidly until the bus driver opens the door. Yes, this is how I learned it.

There are bus drivers, however, who can't even master simple tasks like opening doors for passengers.

Either they won't even stop at the bus stop because they were daydreaming, or they will stop but not open the door you're trying to use as an exit. Then you have to shout all across the aisle for the driver to notice - in time - that you want to leave.

I have a lot of respect for people in difficult jobs, like surgeons, astronauts and engineers. But being a bus driver can't be so difficult, right? Drive without accidents, stop at the bus stop, open doors, and repeat. But still, it's a task many drivers are not able to handle.

9. Corruptible

This kind of bus driver makes his choices based on the people he meets. He can be an asshole around old an ugly people, and he will be extremely kind towards other people.

Some bus drivers I know even let young female students ride on the bus without a ticket when they say they "forgot" that ticket or some kind of bad shit happened to them, whatever it may be.

But don't think these drivers will do anything for anyone. They need a needy smile from an attractive person in order to give in. The same kind of behaviour applies to situations when

  • Someone is late at the bus stop
  • Someone wants to enter at a red traffic light (not a bus stop)
  • Someone wants to leave the bus though they just entered at the same bus stop (yeah, just go with it)

And other stituations. What it comes down to: the driver will only act like a nice person if the passenger is smoking hot or very sweet.

10. The Entertainer

Some bus drivers were actually born to be entertainers, but their lack of talent and qualification brought them to the public transport scene.

These bus drivers are very relaxed and agree to weird things like young pupils asking the driver to play pop music on the bus.

Most of the time though, the bus driver will make speeches via microphone in which he pathetically says goodbye to everyone leaving the bus (after only a short trip). He will also talk about his life, his career, his company and how they are getting better, or why he had to honk and that he's sorry about that, and how much he wishes you will come back again some day. That kind of stuff. It's a little over the top, but at least it's a nice guy.

11. The Math Genius

It's okay not to be good at certain things, like talking, calculating or other things. I mean, you're just supposed to drive the damn bus and that's it. However, most jobs nowadays ask for a variety of skills, and for bus drivers, basic math is one of them.

The math genius has an interesting way of coping with the lack of skill. He solves the problem by just shoving all the coins you give him into the cash box. Then, when all the coins are inside and indistinguishable from the rest, he will tell you that you've paid him 50 cents less than needed. Well, you have been waiting at the bus stop for 10 minutes, counting coins for so long that you know exactly you had all the money with you. But the math genius is in charge and he will not hit the pedal until you give him more money.

My piece of advice: Count the money for him aloud. Maybe then he'll just go with it next time.

12. The Exotic One

Every bus company has at least one driver who looks different from all the other drivers. In Germany, a black driver is unusual, although he will of course be treated like everyone else. Then again, probably less than 1 per cent of the population is black, so it's strange that the one black person you see happens to be a bus driver, not just a pedestrian you come across by accident.

Even women are exotic in this kind of business. While it's perfectly normal to come across black people or, god forbid, a woman on the streets, seeing a woman behind a steering wheel on a bus is so strange that it's weird. I mean, it's always this "ohh... didn't see this coming" kind of reaction. That's like seeing a car and then saying "oh... a car... wow!". Just weird.

13. The Creepy Friendly Guy

In Germany, whether it's on the bus or in groceries, for example, you're used to very bad service. Everyone is unfriendly most of the time, so when you meet someone who is not just friendly, but extremely friendly, it gets creepy.

Germans are so not used to friendly service people that it freaks them out. Suddenly there is this bus driver who says "good morning" not just in a muffled voice, but very clearly. It makes you wonder whether there might be something sarcastic in the voice, but then you realise he is sincere about it. It's so surprising that you might walk past the driver without giving a response, because your brain was too busy processing all the information.

When a bus driver is this friendly, it's kind of creepy, simply because you're not used to that kind of service standard. And you're even wondering why he is so friendly... did someone force him to be friendly? Isn't it weird that we have to think that way, just because we're used to bad service?

14. The Idiot

Being an asshole is one thing, but being an idiot is yet another thing. The idiotic bus driver is famous for one thing: Driving like an idiot. Not especially fast, not especially slow, but always in a way that makes you call him a bloody idiot.

Idiots drive like this: They accelerate until old people who just entered the bus fall to their (near) deaths. On other occassions, you see that a traffic light has turned from green to red. Five seconds later, the bus driver reacts with a braking maneuver that is so abrupt that your brain wants to escape your skull. It takes a lot of physical strength to actually stay in one piece when such a driver is at the wheel. Especially when you're not sitting but standing!

These guys never learned to drive. It's sad but true. Who ever said you need a real driver's licence in order to drive a bus? Ah... fuck that shit.

Monday, January 12, 2015

Why Terrorism Is Islam's Least Problem

We just entered the year 2015 and already some idiots had to come up with new terrorist attacks.

I don't need to mention what happened in Paris regarding Charlie Hebdo. You already know the story.

What I want to talk about today is more than just terrorism. I want to talk about why islamic terrorism is only the tip of the iceberg for Islam, and why this religion has other problems.

How many Muslims ignore the true problems

First of all, some of the reactions by muslims to the attacks are very telling. One guy on facebook immediately jumped to the conclusion that the terrorists must be members of the Israeli secret service, Mossad, on a mission to make Islam look bad.

This is a conspiracy theory. I'm not saying that all conspiracy theories are made up and have no basis, but when you look at a situation from a distance, in terms of probability, it's not wise to always jump to a convenient theory that eliminates you having to deal with black sheep in your religion.

And this is one of the ways in which Islam has a major problem. This problem deals not with terrorism, but something more general: The inability to deal with conflicts within the religion or with ciriticism from the outside.

What caricatures are for

I am not a big fan of the caricatures that were made against Islam. However, I personally defend the right of the cartoonists to come up with whatever bullshit they want to come up with (even Nazi caricatures against Germans like me, if they like). Freedom of speech in this way is important, not because it allows us to bash other people, but it helps to bring problems to people's conscience who would not be moved or impressed simply by written reports of, let's say, human rights violations. Because such a report can be a boring read!

Most muslims also don't understand what caricatures are for. They think they serve only the purpose to make something look bad. But when you look at the caricatures, you will always have either a hidden meaning, a hidden truth or at least a hidden message. Something debatable.

In this is where serious problems arise.

How religious people justify immoral religious content

See, muslims, like all religious people, including christians, are perfect at reverse engineering. What I mean with this? The art of thinking backwards from a given statement in order to justify it.

For example:

The normal world: If a man who is 54 years old has sex with a 9 year old, you don't question the background. You simply say he is sick and a pedophile and belongs in jail. This is a great example of how our moral senses alert us without us having to think too hard. It's a gut feeling!

In Islam: The prophet Mohammed was 54 years old when he had sex with Aisha, who was 9 years old. This is an accepted fact for muslims. What they now do is that they take this fact, which they cannot change, and reverse engineer themselves out of the moral dilemma BECAUSE anything that the prophet did MUST have been morally right. Here are some explanations they come up with:

  • It was normal at the time, everyone did it
  • Mohammed only married Aisha because he wanted to protect her
  • Aisha was totally okay with it (seriously?)

Now don't get me wrong on one thing: I would even be willing to give the prophet the benefit of the doubt if Aisha had been, let's say, 15 years old. I mean, age limits like 18 years or 21 years are just arbitrary. But a 9 year old? Any of you who has a younger sister or a daughter knows how a 9 year old compares to a man who is more than 50 years old.

If you can't imagine what a 9 year old compared to an adult male looks like, check out the size comparison and the other text in this article.

You can also think the other way around: We know that Mohammed was not in favour of homosexuals. We know that islamic clerics have all kinds of theories and explanations why homosexuality is wrong. But you can bet your ass that muslims would be among the foremost front of throwing gay parties, marching on parades and defending gay rights IF ONLY the prophet Mohammed had said that being gay was okay.

The logic of muslims

The sexual relationship between Mohammed and Aisha is not the only morally difficult situation Islam has to deal with (but doesn't). You have to acknowledge that the Quran was written in a time when things were still different from now: Slavery, even in the bible, was still okay, women were seen as not quite as worthy as men (one male witness is worth as much as - and in case of doubt even more than - two female witnesses), and it was okay to use violence to spread a religion.

As an objective person, and even as a person defending the Islamic history, you could now argue that it may sound horrible today, but then, standards were different. However, this is not what Islam does. It's simply what Christianity does, because Christians decided that many of the things in the bible aren't so good after all and that women deserve the right to vote, to be taken seriously, and to pursue a career, for example.

The problem in Islam is that it has this absolutistic "once right, always right" attitude. Because muslims believe that the Quran was not made up by men, but by a god that is all-knowing, all-powerful and has "written" these texts not in spite of future times, but in FULL knowledge of what the world would look like in 2015.

So whatever has been said about women, about gay people and about everything else still holds true to this day.

A modern conflict: Human rights versus the truth of God

This is where another issue comes in. Many people, from both sides, don't understand how westeners and muslims think different. People in the west have a very individualistic approach: Anyone can be right, anyone can be wrong, there is no way to know the truth, so let everybody go about their own ways.

In Islam, the thinking is very different, especially in countries where Islam is the national religion. Since Islam is so powerful there, people believe they already know the truth, and it's coming from God. So when someone shows homosexual behaviour, it's clear this deserves the death penalty, because God has made the rules clear.

Muslims can't think in abstract terms like "what if the other person is as passionate about their religion as I am about mine?". They never learnt that because of indoctrination, and it goes not only for muslims but also christians, only with the difference that some lucid minds actually established societies where there is room for another opinion besides the one of God.

The problem is that human rights are often perceived to be correct and good, and even many muslims thankfully embrace human rights. However, things often just don't fit so well. The freedom of expression and the right to live without having to fear violence can clash dramatically with Islam.

There are even human rights issues where the violation of a right is borderline present. You can sense that bad things could happen, so the psychological pressure might make a muslim individual NOT do something that they would do if muslims wouldn't be standing behind one's back.

Here are a couple of examples:

  • Muslims wanting to leave the religion of Islam but won't because it's better just to pretend to be a muslim (this is one reason why Islam calls itself the fastest growing religion)
  • Muslim women wanting to marry a man outside the religion, with the man being "forced" to convert (allwoing violation of freedom of religion in favor of keeping the family peace together)
  • Not questioning or openly critizising inner-islamic problems because of fear that they will be called "doubtful" or "against Islam" or "influenced by the devil".

I believe that there are many muslims in this world who can see the moral issues that Islam has in a very modern society. However, they are facing so much resistance that they would rather not speak up, or step in one of the mentioned landmines, in order to avoid harsh consequences, involving even death in some countries (not only islamic countries - honour killings are common in Germany and they ARE often religiously motivated).

Another thing that really hurts our fight against barbaric acts of violence is that the media and many politicians now jump on the "political correctness" train. Terrorism is bad while Islam is perfectly peaceful. That's too easy and too black and white. Islam does have its problems and just excluding terrorism from Islam doesn't make the whole of Islam look astonishingly good and beautiful. Most people don't get fooled. Also, there would be less islamophobic movement going on now if we actually FACED these problems instead of outsourcing terrorism into the world of madness and pretending that everything else about Islam was modern and in accordance with human rights. Islam is not in accordance with human rights!

You disagree with me? Look at this chain of logic:

Muslim girl wants to marry Christian guy. Christian guy does not want to convert. Muslim girl still loves him.

  • If Muslim girl marries him, she deserves to die for marrying outside the religion
  • If she leaves Islam to rid herself of the rules, she also deserves to die (apostasy)
  • If the guy converts against his will only to keep the peace, it's a violation of his freedom of religion
  • Advising both persons simply not to get married is not only a cruel suggestion, but a violation against article 16 of the human rights.

Some people will argue that the man, by actually converting, is not acting against his will. However, facing possible fanatism by the parents in law and the possibility they might take things serious enough to kill her, one might rethink that. Also, many men will refrain from "causing" their wives misery as the woman would most certainly lose contact with her family forever and become expulsed from the family.

Alas, many muslims won't bother with this logic simply for the reason that they know God hates interfaith marriages. There can only be one truth, right?

What should muslims do?

One thing they already did, and they did it quite well: Unlike what happened in 9/11 days, there are already muslims who PROTEST against islamic terrorism. This is a humble but powerful beginning. It's good that muslims show their true colours and fight for a society where everyone can live freely.

Another step would be for muslims to actually REFORM Islam. I know it sounds bad at first, because Islam is supposedly right and needs no changes. But I'm not saying you should CHANGE Islam, just look at it and think about how to interpret it. Because there are people in this world who want you to think that there is no interpreting involved. This is wrong. Many of these people are very powerful and afraid that you will take away their power that they derive from so-called "religious authority". Who says they should tell YOU what is right and wrong when only God can do this?

It's up to you what you want to believe. Listen to your inner voice and ask yourself what you PERSONALLY believe in regards to women's rights, violence, freedom of choice in so many ways. Then ask yourself if your God must have really meant what most people think was said in the Quran.

I'm not very hopeful, and that's because people rarely think for themselves and simply defend what they were indoctrinated with. If you're born in Indonesia, you're most likely to be a muslim. If you're born in the USA, you're most likely a christian. If you're born in Israel, you're most likely a jew.

If only THAT people would understand, they might understand that everyone's facing the same situation: they all love what they were taught from their parents. And there is no way for them to tell which religion is right but from what they personally perceive as convincing "evidence".