THE BAN ON FULL FACE-VEIL IN EUROPE (opinion)

By: Michaell Lange,

London, 02/02/17 –

Austria has banned full face-veil in public places following similar decisions in France and Belgium. The Dutch parliament is analysing similar action, and in Germany, Angela Merkel is in favor of the ban. But, what is really behind this measure and why Europeans feel so threatened by a woman wearing a burka or Niqab? Fear of multiculturalism seems to be one of the reasons, and the rise of far-right politics in Europe is surely another clue. In Austria, the reasons given by the government to justify the ban was that, the veil stood in the way of an open communication, interfering on the process of an open society. How contradicting is that? The same rule can be interpreted exactly the opposite way. An “open communication” means that what you wear can tell about who you are, or what is your faith. It’s not different for Nuns, Priests, Rabbis, or a Punk or a hippy. However, only the burka has been affected by the ban. It seems that fear might be the main reason behind these measures. If that’s the case, we should hold our heads in shame. Fear of terrorism is the most shallow of all arguments to ban face-veil. Most of the terror attacks in Europe and indeed in the US, were carried out by men wearing western clothes. So what the Burka has to do with it? Ban the Burka is clearly a discriminatory action. European governments are supposed to combat discrimination, but they are in fact promoting it, and that’s utterly unacceptable! Muslim women are very vulnerable. They have little or no rights in many Middle East and Africa countries. In many cases they are forced to marry and are subject of exploitation, and when they come to the “free world” the discrimination continues. It must stop!

Europe is giving in to the same far-right ideas that caused so much destruction in Europe in the past. politicians like Angela Merkel from Germany, should never agree to ban the burka. She might be going against her own ideals and values to counter the rise of the far-right in her country, but this decision will come back to haunt her in the future. For those playing the argument that multiculturalism has failed, it’s important to remember that Europe today is a big pot of mixed race, religion and culture. It seems however, that what concerns Europeans is fear of Islam. Yet, fear of Islam was not caused by terrorists, but by the Western media propaganda. Americans for instance, should be more worried of toddlers than Muslims. Young babies cause more death by fire arms accidents in America than Islamic terrorism. That’s not to mention the Islamic State that have killed far more muslims than any other people put together. So what is this fear about?

Nick Ferrari, a LBC radio presenter based in London, has said in the past that he would not allow a doctor wearing burka to examining him. I ask why not? What is his fear all about? Did he ever asked a doctor to provide a doctor certificate before he let them check him up? have anyone of us done it before? isn’t it a doctor certificate more important for you to worry about than a face-veil? So why Mr Ferrari would ignore the dangers of a possible false doctor exam him and instead, fear the burka? He also said in the past that a person facing a panel of judges should never be allowed to wear a burka so the judges could see his/her face and judge his behaviour. Well, I thought the judges should judge the evidence not the person. So, maybe all people facing trial should actually use burka, so the judges would have to judge the facts and the evidence only instead of the colour the skin or how the suspect behave in court. After all, we all know that black people are more likely to be convicted of a crime than a blue eye white person. So please, burka for every person facing trial!

I can only see one reason for the ban on the Burka in Europe, and that’s discrimination! States are promoting discrimination which goes against European values of liberty, freedom of expression and tolerance. When the state starts to dictate what kind of clothes we should wear, it’s time to be scared and worried. We must not forget what happened to the Jews in the 30s and 40s, and we must not allow anything like that to ever happen again. Muslims in Europe are in a path very similar to that of jews in the 30s, which tragically ended with the holocaust. European people should not allow their governments to pass laws or regulations designed to discriminate people or their culture and religion, unless we want the horrors of the past to become the horrors of the future. I don’t believe anyone wish that. So, we should not fear Islam or muslims. But, we must fear people willing to hurt other people just for the sake of their ignorance and hatred. We should fear people who doesn’t like other people just for what they are. I’m not afraid of Europe been taken over by islam, but I’m really afraid of Europe been taken over by the same radical people who caused the worst humanitarian disaster in the history of Men kind. We should not fear a face-veil, but we must fear hatred. We should not fear people just because they are different, but we must fear people disliking others just because they are different.

Since the end of World War Two, Europe has become a place of refuge for freedom and democracy, where people from all back grounds can exercise their beliefs freely and in Peace. Europe has also been an example in the fight for women equality as well as for the protection for minorities and vulnerable people. We cannot allow European leaders to promote hate and endanger everything Europe has achieved in the fields of human rights since the holocaust. No country has the right to dictate the way you should dress or live! If that is happening in Europe today, it’s time to act quickly and stop these radicals from steer Europe back to the 1930s again.

 

BRITISH REFERENDUM ON THE EUROPEAN UNION (OPINION)

By: Michaell Lange,

London, 10/06/16 –

 

Yesterday I posted my vote on the British Referendum on European Union. Like many of us I was confused and extremely disappointed by the way both sides of the campaign have been conducting their arguments to the public. It is no surprise that the trust on politicians is so low. The fact is, we cannot trust them! So I decided to do my own research and make a decision based on my feelings and experience. I have a degree in International Relations and Politics and this helped me to separate the truth from the false, at least as far as my eyes can see.

The first thing I have done was to go back to the bases of the European Union. What was the main reason for Europe to unite and create such a huge and complicated institution that we know today as The European Union? How did we get to the point we are today and what would be the real arguments to remain or to leave the EU? Is it better in or out?

There is no easy answer for the referendum question, but we can work out how interests are dividing businesses, political parties and the people of Britain. How interests are played out to the public by the media, and for whose interests? My suggestion is: Don’t trust politicians and the media. Trust your own feelings and make sure your decision will not come back to bite you. You maybe going to find a conclusion complete the opposite of mine, but that’s the beauty of democracy . After all, it will be your conclusion, your decision and not a third part decision based on third part interests sold to you cheaply. Do not sell your conclusion!

Like most of you, I am also worried. I am worried about the future of this country and about the future of my family. I also think we are all missing the point here. Most of the campaign on both sides are spending too much time on the economy and immigration issues when in my eyes these issues are not totally dependent on whether we are in or out of the European Union. In fact, China and the United States are the two main concerns regarding the state of the economy in the entire world including Europe and Britain. What they do and don’t can bring the whole system into crisis. Even the Euro Zone crisis was not caused just by the pit falls of the European Union, it came from abroad with no boarders or regulations being able to stop it. Immigration is also linked to international forces we can’t always control. The Euro Zone crisis brought a lot of Europeans with free movement into this country, that’s a fact. But wouldn’t they come anyway if we were out of the EU? Of course they would! People have moved around the globe for thousands of years and for thousands of reasons. The only difference is that the people working here legally today would be here otherwise illegally, but they would probably be here any way just as much as they are in the US and Germany because these countries are doing better. Leave the EU might double the number of illegal immigrants living in Britain, but it’s still just a possibility. In addition, there are thousands of Chinese, Indians, Africans, South Americans, Australians, Russians, Americans and people from all over the world living in Britain today, legally or illegally and none of them are part of the European Union. So, who would be there to stop the Portuguese, the Spanish, the French, and the Italians? Can we blame the immigration issue on the EU only?

An economic disaster in the Euro Zone would probably see levels of mass migration from Europe into Britain similar to those seen from Syria into Europe today, and this is regardless of whether Britain is in or out of the EU. When people feel threaten they move to a safer place whatever and wherever it is. So as long as the world is balanced and people are not forced out of their lands by bombs and famine, mass migration can be avoided. Britain is a vital player in maintaining this balance in the EU as well as throughout of the world. Whether we can play this role better in or out of the EU is a question we all must ask ourselves before voting on the referendum in just 10 days time. Building walls, closing boarders, sending the army or any other radical method offered by radicals today, have been tried before by old radicals and failed, and they will continue to fail until governments realise that it’s impossible to stop millions of people from fleeing wars to save their lives. It would be a crime against humanity anyway. The point here is that neither immigration nor the economy can be totally controlled by our government. Another important point to take into consideration is this: Some of our Laws and regulations are made by Brussels, but how better our government would do? The Liberals said they would not touch the University fees. The Labours wanted to tax our houses, and the Conservatives, well, the Conservatives said they would lead Turkey into the EU, and now they say otherwise.

The media claims the Conservative party is divided. Well, in my view their strategy is a win-win situation. If we vote out, David Cameron will step down and give way to Mr Boris Johnson. If we remain in the EU, David Cameron was always right. How would  Tories lose it? On the other hand, the Labour Party and the Liberals find themselves working for the Tories whatever way you look at it.

For us, the people, the problems with politics are the same. They lie just as much as they need to convince us to believe them. We should question what our politicians are doing with the power they already have. Are they doing a good job? Can we trust them? If you have any doubt, ask this question to Fire Fighters, Junior Doctors, Teachers, Tube Drivers, Black Cab Drivers, TATA Steel workers, University students, Disable people, the elderly, the soldiers. Ask them if we can trust our politicians and listen to what they have to say.   So why should I listen to politicians’ claims that we are losing sovereignty and decision making powers when they are unable to prove they can do a better job with the power they already have in their hands? They can’t blame everything on Europe all the time.

However, my main concern in leaving the EU is Peace. Peace in Europe is the bases of everything else in the lives of Europeans. Without Peace, there is no economy, no growth, no jobs, no integration, no holidays in Spain and Portugal, and no immigration control. Peace was the main reason behind the creation of the EU, and that idea stands firm today. Nazis and fascist groups are still strongly operating underground all over Europe including here in Britain. The way the EU stands today would be almost impossible for these radical groups to rise to power and cause another war in Europe, it’s been successful in that task for more than 70 years.  However, if the EU collapses as a result of Brexit (British Exit), the idea of 27 countries in Europe going their own ways, facing economic depression and unemployment, it would certainly create the perfect storm for such groups to rise up to power again. Russia would be looking to Europe with a lot of interests. We already know the consequences of this recipe. Who can guarantee that the British exit will not create such catastrophic situation? I prefer to believe in possibilities than just blindly believe in what I wish for the future, and the EU meltdown is a real possibility.

The reality is that, if I had a couple of million pounds invested in the EU, with the Brexit looming ahead, I would be very concerned about the future of my investments. I would be looking for a safer place to keep my money until the uncertainty goes away. It is almost certain that the price of gold will rise sharply just before the referendum, like after 9/11. People always tend to find a safer place for their money during difficult times. Thus, if every investor feels afraid of losing their investments, they will move away from the Euro zone causing the collapse of the Euro and a chain reaction with disastrous consequences. Of course it would be the worst case scenario, but who can guarantee it will not happened? I also like to start any analysis from the worst case scenario.  Personally, I believe that Britain would be probably better off out of the EU. Nevertheless, it’s the consequences of the exit, and how these consequences may affect the whole EU structure and eventually the balance of Peace, that concerns me the most.

Even if we leave the EU we will still need to change the way the EU operates because right now, it is not functioning the way it should. When the EU does not functions well our economy is affected. Be part of the decision making is vital to push for changes. Isolation in the 21st century is as ludicrous as the Trump Wall. The economy and the rest of the world are pretty much working as one single unity, and I believe Britain cannot have more control of its economy just by leaving the EU. The TATA Steel saga is one big evidence of that. Decisions about the future of thousands of British steel workers were decided in India. The decision of Arab countries to force the price of oil down in the past years caused thousands of job losses in Scotland. Be out of the EU would have made no difference in these cases. It seems to me that if we leave the EU, the concerns we have today such as immigration and the state of the economy, will continue to exist, but then there will be no turning back.

It is widely known that the older generation of Britain is more Europe skeptical and therefore, more likely to vote leave. My concern is this: My son is three and half years old and his generation is more likely to live the full consequences of the decisions made by the older generation today. Are we taking the future and the wishes of the young Brits into consideration when deciding whether to vote to remain or to leave the EU? or, are we thinking so selfishly and only taking into account what we feel about Europe today? The young Brits are most likely to vote to remain, so isn’t it the case for the old Brits to think and listen to the wishes of the young people about where they want Britain to be in the future? Some of the old people of Britain thinking about vote leave will see very little of how their votes will affect the future generations. My son is more likely to live the consequences of a Brexit his entire life. I decided to vote for the young people. I decided to vote for my son. I decided to vote for Peace in Europe. I decided to vote to remain. Good Luck Britain!

The UK and the EU Question: A Possible Case of Mutual Assured Destruction

By: Michaell Lange,

London, 17/02/16 –

During the campaign for the 2015 general election, David Cameron has promised a referendum over the United Kingdom membership on the European Union. At the time, it was a political strategy worthing the gamble. It would make a clear differentiation between the Tories and the other political parties regarding the EU. It worked better then most people would predict and David Cameron won a historic majority seats at the British Parliament. Now, Mr Cameron has a problem in his hand he didn’t really asked for. The Prime minister is feeling increasingly desperate to get his proposals approved by Brussels before the referendum to ensure Britain remains inside the European Union. However the effort, he is watching in horror the growing possibility of a so called Britexit become a reality and he knows too well the disastrous consequence it could be for Britain.  He has no choice but to be all in. If successful, Mr Cameron will go on as one of the greatest British Prime Minister in history. If fails, David Cameron will most probably have to resign and the Tories as well as Britain will have to take the blame for a possible breakdown of the European Union.

Historically, British relationship with Europe has been a case of love and hate. Yes, British people love to go on holiday to mainland Europe. We love many aspects of their culture and food, not to mention the weather and the extraordinary beaches and ski resorts. In fact, over 1.5 million Britons left the UK to leave in continental Europe, and who would blame them? Nevertheless, hostility, has for centuries kept Britain’s view of Europe one of skepticism.

In a couple of Month Britain will vote on a referendum to decide the future of its EU membership. The decision to leave or to remain will have a profound impact on the future of the country. Like the Scottish referendum, it will be hard to see beyond the campaign of information and misinformation promoted by both sides of the argument. Euro sceptics such as Nigel Farage, promote the idea that if we vote to stay, Britain will lose its sovereignty and its control over the borders. But, how much of it is really true and how much is just inconsequent nationalism? We live in a globalised world where no country has total control of their economic affairs. The world’s economy is interconnected and has no borders. We know how a default in Argentina or a broken bank in the US can take the whole world to a rollercoaster ride. We have just paid £1 billion pounds to HSBC to keep their headquarters in London, and Google has agreed to pay only £130 million pound in tax for the past 10 years which the labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, claimed to be only 3% of what Google supposed to pay. The British Government also failed to stop the invasion of cheap steel from China that is hurting the British steel industry.

The immigration question is an issue, but how much of the problem is really down to the EU membership? Mr Farage claim that 450 million Europeans can freely come to live in the UK is true to some extent though it is a very unrealistic assumption. Moreover, we haven’t been invaded by millions of Bulgarians and Romanians as predicted by Mr Farage when both countries entered the EU. On the other hand, Britain has big communities of Chinese, Australians, Pakistanis, Brazilians, South Africans and Indians for instance, and none of these countries belong to the European Union. So, is it a problem caused by the EU or is it a problem caused by our own Parliament? There is no doubt that immigration is a big issue for Britain, but it should not be the center of our decision to whether we should remain or leave the EU.

My biggest worry has nothing to do with the economy, immigration or sovereignty questions. My biggest fear is regarding the possible breaking down of the EU and its implications to the world if we decide to leave. If that happens, we will not be safe. A collapse of the European Union would be a disaster for the whole world and that is something even the most nationalist and EU sceptics must consider. The Euro crisis of the past years may have some lessons to teach us. The question of Greece caused great turbulence in the world’s economy and at the end, neither the EU or the World could afford the risk to let Greece leave the Union. In the case of Britain, the decision will not be in the hands of politicians. The Britons will make the decision. If the EU could not afford to lose a small, broken country like Greece, imagine the risks involving the exit of Britain from the EU could bring? One may argue that Greece was a special case because it’s in the Euro zone, but the reaction of the global financial market to a British exit is totally unpredictable. David Cameron may have gambled with the Greek case in mind thinking, if they can’t afford to lose Greece, surely they will agree anything we want to make sure we stay in. What Mr Cameron may not have thought is that the EU also realised that Britain has much more to lose than Greece. That is why the impasse between Britain and the EU looks increasingly more like a case of mutual assured destruction. Like the nuclear dead-lock between the US and the USSR during the Cold War, none of the two could afford to make a preemptive attack because of the mutual assured destruction. Deterrence worked well for the nuclear case and there were never, of course, any referendum during the cold war to decide whether to attack an enemy with the capability to destroy any attacker in the process. It would be ludicrous. The referendum over the EU might be a similar case where neither the EU or the UK have the capability to let the other one down without the risk of possible self destruction in the process.

But the worst is not even that. What will probably decide my vote on the referendum is the main reason for the creation of the European Union in the first place, which in my opinion still stands. The EU were primarily created to stop destructive wars in Europe. Therefore, we should never dismiss the possibility of war in Europe from happening again. We may not be able to stop far right groups from getting into power again if the EU falls apart. Nazi and fascist groups still operating underground all over Europe and if they have any opportunity to rise to power again, they will. The new and young generation of Europe may not believe European countries can go to war against each other again, but we should remember that World War I was supposed to be the war to end all wars. Nevertheless, we had the second World War and the Cold War after that. Moreover, like today, nobody really believed in another World War in 1939. So, we should never underestimate this possibility especially, if the EU collapses causing widespread economic depression with European countries going their own way. We must understand that Europe is safer if tied together in an Union like the EU. It’s worked well so far and should continue to work as long as European countries stay tied together. Although, Britain is not considered a historic hostile country towards Europe, it cannot refuse the fact that its position in the EU today is very important for the maintenance of the balance of power in Europe. The decision to leave, can start a disastrous process for Europe and indeed for Britain and for the whole world.

On the other hand, stay in the EU should not mean Britain has to accept the current structure of the European Union. The EU is politically and economically unbalanced and David Cameron is totally right to seek and to promote changes in the EU. It will also be easier to do these necessary changes and to fight for a fairer Europe if Britain stays in. If that is the case, Britain must make efforts to develop a better relationship with the rest of Europe. A better relationship with European countries is a matter of national security for Britain and indeed a positive step towards a more independent UK . However the way Britons decide to vote, we must remember that immigration and benefits are not, and should not be, the main arguments for Britain to remain or leave the EU. We should consider first, some deeper and much more important facts that has not yet hit the mainstream media debates, before we make our decision. It’s absolutely crucial that Britons have clearly in their minds that we will not be voting only in our behalf, but on behalf of the whole Europe. The British vote will decide the future of Europe. That’s why it’s so crucial to get it right. We must not only think about what is best for Britain, but what is best for all Europeans.