Quotation (465): Explaining Columbus.

Rick Chavolla, the board chairman of the American Indian Community House in Manhattan, who had called for the Columbus statue’s removal, said that it was wrong to cast the dispute as one pitting Native Americans against Italian-Americans. “It’s between what’s morally right and what’s morally wrong,” he said. “Columbus is just morally wrong. He sold underage girls into sexual slavery. He forced people into labor until they died.”

He called the mayor’s proposal [not to remove the statue] unimaginative. “He’s saying they’re going to put up a plaque. Really? There’s plaques all over the city and they don’t draw any attention.”

New York Times

See also: [1] [2] [3]

Quotation (464): Freiheit ist kein Geschenk.

[Immanuel Kant insists] that freedom is the precondition for acquiring the maturity for freedom, not a gift to be granted when such maturity is achieved.

[Immanuel Kant betont,] dass Freiheit die Vorbedingung ist, um reif für die Freiheit zu werden, nicht ein Geschenk, das gewährt wird, sobald diese Reife [schon] erreicht ist.

Aus: Noam Chomsky, ‘On Anarchism’, Penguin Books, 2014 (S. 8)


Siehe auch: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6]

Spanien soll Rebellionsvorwürfe fallenlassen.

Der UN-Sonderberichterstatter für das Recht auf freie Meinungsäußerung, David Kaye, hat Spanien gestern dazu aufgerufen, die Anklagen wegen Rebellion gegen katalanische Politiker- und Demonstrantinnen fallenzulassen:

GENEVA (6 April 2018) – The UN Special Rapporteur on the right to freedom of opinion and expression, David Kaye, urged Spanish authorities to refrain from pursuing the criminal charge of rebellion against political figures and protesters in Catalonia that carries a jail sentence of up to 30 years.

“Prosecutions for ‘rebellion’ that could lead to lengthy jail sentences raise serious risks of deterring wholly legitimate speech, even if it is controversial and discomfiting,” said Kaye. “Freedom of expression is the cornerstone of every free and democratic society, and it will remain so long after the current political controversies subside.”

Following a referendum last October deemed void and unconstitutional by the Constitutional Court, Spanish authorities arrested then-members of the Catalan Government and leaders of civil society organisations and charged them with rebellion, among other charges. Carles Puigdemont, former president of Catalonia, was among those charged; on request from Spain, he was arrested in Germany and may face extradition.

“I am concerned that charges of rebellion for acts that do not involve violence or incitement to violence may interfere with rights of public protest and dissent,” the Special Rapporteur said. “International human rights law cautions that, especially in situations involving political dissent, restrictions should only be imposed when they are strictly necessary and proportionate to protect the State’s interests.

“I am hopeful that Spain will deploy its democratic institutions to foster space for debate, and find creative tools of dialogue and reconciliation to deal with the current political situation,” Kaye added.

Siehe auch: [1] [2] [3] [4]

Rektor will Auslieferung von Ponsatí verhinden.
Spanien handle nicht im Einklang mit Recht und Demokratie

Während gestern der katalanische Präsident Carles Puigdemont (PDeCAT) in Schleswig-Holstein festgenommen wurde, wird sich am Mittwoch die katalanische Bildungsministerin Clara Ponsatí (JxC) der schottischen Polizei stellen. All dies geschieht auf der Grundlage von Spanien erlassener EU-Haftbefehle.

Diesbezüglich kündigte Aamer Anwar, Rektor der Universität Glasgow, an, er werde die katalanische Ministerin verteidigen, um ihre Auslieferung zu verhindern. In einem Interview mit dem britischen Sender Sky News bezichtigte Anwar Spanien, sich außerhalb von Recht und Demokratie zu bewegen. Es handle sich um politische Verfolgung, Spanien könne Ponsatí, die an der renommierten St Andrews University doziert, keinen fairen und unabhängigen Prozess garantieren.

Quite frankly the Spanish authorities have overplayed that game. Repeatedly over the last several months they have shown themselves to act out with the norms of democracy, out with the norms of judicial process and a fair and independent judiciary. And as a such we will be robustly defending this attempt to extradite Clara from Scotland back to Spain, because quite simply it is a political prosecution, that’s what will be argued, and secondly we do not think that the Spanish authorities can guarantee an independent judicial process that will treat Clara fairly.

— Aamer Anwar (on ‘Sky News’)

Aamer Anwar ist Rechtsanwalt und errang bei den Scottish Legal Awards 2017 den Titel Lawyer of the Year.

Hinweis: In einer älteren Fassung dieses Artikels war Aamer Anwar fälschlicherweise als Rektor der ‘St Andrews University’ bezeichnet worden.

Quotation (453): The voice of the hidden waterfall.

Can we with a fresh conscience now say that Britain is taking us forward? Can we say that leaving Europe, without our consent, is set to enhance our children’s lives and connect them more constructively to the world of the future? Some would say so, some unionists and some nationalists too, but a heavily majority would not, and many young people in Scotland feel they are being sold out by their own grandparents. Strangely, it is the younger ones who are more profoundly in touch with Scotland’s intellectual traditions. It is not at base a political argument, but a philosophical one, a humanitarian one, an ecological one, putting the rights of all men and women, and all children, before the fears of a class of account-holders.

Der irischstämmige schottische Autor Andrew O’Hagan in seiner Keynote-Speech beim ‘Edinburgh International Book Festival’. O’Hagan wurde mit dem ‘Los Angeles Times Book Award’ und dem ‘E. M. Forster Award’ der ‘American Academy of Arts and Letters’ ausgezeichnet.

The outside view.
John Oliver on the Italian election

The British-American comedian John Oliver dedicated the latest episode of his “Last Week Tonight” show to Italy and its upcoming elections. It is an astonishing – yet satirical – account of how Italian politics is perceived from the outside. Oliver talks about fascist threats, sexist horndogs and poisonous politicians. The only solution to the Italian crisis he could come up with is to run for prime minister himself.

Yes Italy, my candidacy for prime minister may be a complete and total farce, but be honest — incredibly, I am far from your worst option.

Spain ‘condemned’ by Amnesty International.

The Amnesty International Report 2017/18 — The state of the world’s human rights has been presented in Washington D. C. today. We’re publishing some excerpts relating to the situation in Catalonia, to which has been given much space in the chapter dedicated to Spain:

Kingdom of Spain
Head of state: King Felipe VI de Borbón
Head of government: Mariano Rajoy

The rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly of Catalan independence supporters were disproportionally restricted. Dozens of people were prosecuted for “glorification of terrorism” and “humiliation of victims” on social media. Law enforcement officials used excessive force against demonstrators peacefully resisting the enforcement of the High Court of Justice of Catalonia’s ruling stopping the Catalan independence referendum. Spain relocated fewer asylum-seekers than it had pledged to under the EU relocation scheme, and resettled fewer refugees than it had committed to. Thousands of people continued to face forced evictions. The authorities continued to close investigations into crimes under international law committed during the Civil War and the Franco regime.


Following the Constitutional Court decision of 7 September aimed at preventing the referendum, some authorities disproportionately restricted the rights to freedom of expression and peaceful assembly. Courts in Madrid and Vitoria in the Basque country prohibited two public assemblies aimed at supporting the referendum. The municipality of Castelldefels in Catalonia adopted a blanket ban on the use of public spaces for assemblies aimed at supporting or protesting against the referendum.
On 16 October, a High Court judge ordered the pre-trial detention of Jordi Cuixart and Jordi Sánchez, the presidents of two pro- Catalan-independence organizations. They were detained and charged with sedition, a broadly defined offence, in connection with protests they organized in Barcelona on 20 and 21 September to, according to a judge, oppose a lawful police operation. In November, the Supreme Court took charge of the proceedings against Jordi Sánchez and Jordi Cuixart. The Supreme Court extended the investigation against them to the offence of rebellion.
Dozens of people were prosecuted for “glorification of terrorism” and “humiliation of victims” on social media networks. In many instances, authorities pressed criminal charges against people who had expressed opinions that did not constitute incitement to a terrorism-related offence and fell within the permissible forms of expression under international human rights law. […]

Law enforcement officials policing protests on 1 October in Catalonia used excessive force against peaceful protesters who were opposing a police operation. The police fired blank cartridges and rubber bullets, seriously injuring one person and causing him to lose the sight in one eye.

And that’s what Salil Shetty, Secretary General of Amnesty International said to catalan public broadcaster TV3:

It’s just unbelievable all this is happening inside the EU… and thus could literally happen anywhere else.

See also: [1] [2] [3] [4] [5] [6] [7]

Democracy Index 2017 veröffentlicht.
Italien eine unvollständige Demokratie

Seit 2006 erstellt The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) einen weltweiten Demokratieindex, der die untersuchten Staaten vier Kategorien zuordnet: vollständige und unvollständige Demokratien, Hybridregimes (Mischformen) und autoritäre Regimes.
Die Untersuchung beruht auf 60 Fragen, die von Expertinnen beantwortet und zu fünf Indikatoren (Wahlprozess und Pluralismus, Funktionsweise der Regierung, politische Teilhabe, politische Kultur und Bürgerrechte) zusammengefasst werden.

Der soeben veröffentlichte Bericht für 2017 konstatiert im Vergleich zu 2016 weltweit eine deutliche Verschlechterung. 89 Länder fielen zurück, aber nur 27 konnten ihren Wert verbessern.

Von den 167 untersuchten Staaten wurden nur 19 (Norwegen, Island, Schweden, Neuseeland, Dänemark, Irland, Kanada, Australien, Finnland, Schweiz, Niederlande, Luxemburg, Deutschland, UK, Österreich, Mauritius, Malta, Uruguay und Spanien) als vollständige, 57 (darunter USA, Italien, Frankreich, Zypern, Griechenland) hingegen als unvollständige Demokratien eingestuft.

Von den 19 vollen Demokratien sind 13 Kleinstaaten mit weniger als zehn Millionen (Island, Luxemburg und Malta gar weniger als eine Millionen) Einwohnerinnen.

Im Falle Spaniens wird im Bericht ausdrücklich festgehalten, dass die Vorfälle rund um den 1. Oktober 2017 den Status als vollständige Demokratie gefährden:

However, the national government’s attempt to stop by force Catalonia’s illegal referendum on independence on October 1st and its repressive treatment of pro-independence politicians have put it at risk of becoming a “flawed democracy ”. After a unilateral declaration of independence by the regional parliament, the national government temporarily suspended Catalan home rule. Several pro-independence leaders have been jailed on remand and face serious criminal charges and 30-year prison sentences if found guilty.

Siehe auch: [1] [2] [3] [4]