Monday, January 02, 2017
Rare realism on black crime
Angela Merkel says Islamist terrorism is Germany's biggest threat
It takes Muslims to educate you about Islam
Islamist terrorism is the biggest challenge facing Germany, Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Saturday in a New Year's address to the nation, and vowed to introduce laws that improve security after a deadly attack before Christmas in Berlin.
Referring to the deadly truck attack in Berlin by a Tunisian asylum seeker, she said it was "sickening" when acts of terror were carried out by people who had sought protection, the BBC reported.
Twelve people are dead and at least 50 injured when a truck ploughed into a crowded Christmas market in Berlin, which the White House has called an 'apparent terrorist attack'.
She described 2016 as a year of "severe tests" but said she was confident Germany could overcome them.
"As we go about our lives and our work, we are saying to the terrorists: 'You are hate-filled murderers, but you do not determine how we live and want to live. We are free, considerate and open'," Mrs Merkel said.
Merkel, seeking a fourth term as chancellor in 2017, urged Germans to shun populism and said Germany should take a leading role in addressing the many challenges facing the European Union.
"Many attach to 2016 the feeling that the world had turned upside down or that what for long had been held as an achievement is now being questioned. The European Union for example," Merkel said.
"Or equally parliamentary democracy, which allegedly is not caring for the interests of the citizens but is only serving the interests of a few. What a distortion," she said in a veiled reference to claims by the far-right party Alternative for Germany (AfD) that is stealing votes from her conservatives.
Ahead of the 2017 election, polls put her conservative bloc well ahead of rivals but a fractured electoral landscape risks complicating the coalition arithmetic.
"Election year 2017: For Merkel, nothing is certain any more", ran a headline in Saturday's edition of mass-selling daily Bild. The paper wrote that for an increasing number of voters the chancellor, 62, no longer appeared unassailable.
Liberals across the Atlantic have hailed Merkel as an anchor of stability and reason in a year that saw Donald Trump elected as US president, Britain vote to leave the EU and US-Russia relations deteriorate to Cold War levels.
In her address, Merkel compared Brexit to a "deep incision" and said that even though the EU was "slow and arduous", its member states should focus on common interests that transcend national benefits. "And, yes, Europe should focus on what can really be better than the national state," Merkel said. "But we Germans should never be led to believe that each could have a better future by going it alone."
She was alluding again to the populist AfD, which wants Germany to leave the EU and shut its borders to asylum seekers, more than one million of whom arrived in the country this year and last.
The record number of migrants has hurt Merkel's popularity and fuelled support for the AfD, which says Islam is incompatible with the German constitution. But her conservatives are still expected to win the general election in nine months.
Merkel has made security the main election platform for her Christian Democrats (CDU).
In her speech, she said the government would introduce measures to improve security after a failed Tunisian asylum seeker drove a truck into a Christmas market in the capital on December 19, killing 12 people in the name of Islamic State.
He was shot dead by Italian police in Milan on Dec. 23 and investigators are trying to determine whether he had accomplices.
Africans bring some multicultural vibrancy to Bondi beach in Australia
Police arrested nine people at Sydney's Bondi Beach early on New Year's Day after the group allegedly threatened beachgoers with broken bottles.
One victim was allegedly punched in the face, and had his passport and backpack stolen in the incident, which happened around 5.30am at the southern end of the beach, according to police and media reports.
Five suspects were in custody and four others were released pending further inquiry, police said.
A number of items that were reported stolen, including mobile phones and portable speakers, were located at the beach, an NSW police spokesperson said.
Police took statements from 'a number of people' who alleged they were assaulted and robbed, the spokesperson said.
The suspects allegedly wielded a broken bottle in the robbery, according to The Daily Telegraph.
Ban 'mansplain' from the feminist vocabulary
I suspect that Denby Weller below has been hit -- as have so many -- by the 53% of white women who voted for The Donald. That 53% sure wounded the "sisterhood" myth. It is an utter myth, anyway. If you want to tear down some woman, get another woman onto the job. The word "bitchy" reflects that. Ms Weller writes from Australia
I had a giggle like everyone the first time I heard it. Mansplain. The perfect epithet for the boardroom bullies, the down-talking politicians, the Twits and shock jocks who embody the 16 per cent gender pay-gap, the underrepresentation of women in just about everything important. The unfairness that we're still beating our heads against the glass ceiling so many decades after The Female Eunuch.
Like thousands of women, I threw it around like the glorious little explosion of wit that it is. And most of my male friends laughed along, if a little uncomfortably.
Why 'mansplaining' should be banned
It's one of 2016's hottest buzzwords. But is calling someone a "mansplainer" fair game?
But then I started getting this sinking feeling, the kind you got when your nine-year-old self (the one with short hair and a Sarah Connor figurine) won an argument with your brother about who got to sit in the front seat of the car, but you did it by kicking him in the shins and yelling "shotgun!" while he howled in pain. Somehow, the rosy glow of that hallowed front seat was tarnished by the knowledge that you went real low to get there.
When I called someone a mansplainer, I'd hit below the belt.
Feminists, this is our hour. These are the dark days. The world needs us, and it needs us to be smart, effective and bold.
What it doesn't need is for us to be allured by our cleverness into abandoning the rules of good argument. And this is why I'm calling for a moratorium on the word "mansplain" and its cousins, "manterrupt" and "bropropriate".
It's not just because we're tarring half the population with the same brush when we slap the word "man" in front of any verb and say it with a derisive tone. Nor is it because we risk offence. It's because this adversarial form of communication ain't working, and we need to try a different tactic. And I don't mean to sound hysterical, but the future of the world kinda depends on it.
This year hasn't been a good one for progressive, liberally minded types like us and, while the reasons are too complex to tackle in a single article, there is one I can home in on without trying very hard at all.
We're not winning enough friends or influencing enough people. It's not because our arguments don't hold water, or our position is doomed to fail, it's because people can't get past the note of intellectually superior nastiness that's oozing from our pores when we utter words like "mansplain".
If feminism is, as the T-shirt says, the "radical notion that women are people", then maybe it's time we adopted the radical notion that people are people too. Even man people. Who knows, if we use our linguistic power to sever the bullies and braggarts from the general male population, we might find the rest of mankind more receptive to our plight. Or maybe not. But at least then we'd be able to dance around the moral high ground in our pantsuits and whatever the hell undies we choose to wear, or not to wear.
We love reading about how everyone hates Hillary because she's a woman, and chortle when Tanya Plibersek calls Turnbull a mansplainer, but consider that at least some of Hillary's haters were made the day she called them a basket of deplorables. And that referring to a rare conservative politician who's happy to call himself a feminist as a mansplainer is a good way to wither the last tiny vestiges of goodwill between our kind and the people with whom we most need to engage.
By all means, challenge the men who talk down to you. Go get 'em, sister. But make your primary weapon logic, not scorn. Put that superior intellect to work on the vocab that precisely describes what's wrong with their behaviour, not the generalist sexism of a gendered slur. In case you forgot, gendered slurs are the kinds of things we feminists are supposed to hate.
Do your challenging without humiliating the other blokes in the room, who might even agree with you, if you could only couch your complaint in terms that don't demean them, too.
The thing about feminism is, it ain't over yet. We don't get to walk the low road just because we're not making progress as fast as we'd like. If you want people to change, you have to speak a language they can bear to listen to before you have any hope at all of them hearing a single word you say.
Let's banish mansplaining and start talking about the real battle for feminists.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.