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29 Nov 2014

Der Penis-Friedhof

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That’s torn it: for years the European and American media has been lying to us and wilfully duped us. Pakistan and Iran countries of men wearing long beards, who are reluctant to all sexual appetite and virtuous behaviour is predominant everywhere? As if! In its pre-prime-time serial “Summits of Iran” arte.tv produced evidence to the contrary yesterday and showed as one of the first western TV stations the truth. What am I talking about? Im talking about the “penis-cemetery”! Exactly, you read me right, I am talking about a penis-cemetery belowground! You do not believe me? Look and see! Simply fast-forward to 29:38 and then, it’s just there!

So you say, that does not mean a thing? A blooper, a mistake you say? Well, than I’ll do it better with the next story. In Pakistan to become a eunuch is a job that requires vocational training. A canard, simply fake? No, it is the truth, as this article “First-ever vocational training centre for eunuchs opened” proves. Eunuchs learn tailoring, fashion design and how to become a professional beautician. Wait, it gets much better: The pakistanian government would also provide transport facility to the eunuchs. On the completion of course, the government would also provide a loan worth Rs50,000 to each eunuch through Punjab Small Industries Corporation loan on interest free basis. I call that progressive and forward-looking. I cannot recall any similar initiative with Europe or America so far. Can you?

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24 Nov 2014

Tour of the angel: Ein Lehrstück von Engeln, Abtrünnigen und lustigen Trollen

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Sorry, this entry is only available in Deutsch.

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16 Nov 2014

“Lass mal auf Schalke gehen”

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In the so called „Ruhrpott“ everything is a little bit differently and above all more relaxed. Suddenly Switzerland is situated close to the town of Hattingen and Schalke (the German football club) does not play in the Veltins-Arena but in a kiosk close to the Emscher Radweg. What does that mean in sequence?

We are taking advantage of the nice autumn weather and are going to the Elfringer Schweiz in order to enjoy a stroll around the forest. Arriving at the parking lot “The red house” we instantly realize that a lot of people just had the same idea. A true sea of cars awaits us on the overcrowded parking lot. My friend must have seen my petrified facial expression as she quickly tries to calm me down with the words: “Do not worry, these people only want to visit the pony ride. Nobody here wants to hike for 10 km.” She’s right. We hardly met anybody on the loop road thus we are able to enjoy the beautiful landscape and the warming rays of the autumn sun. We also have still time for coffee and a shop tour at the nearby yard sale.

Next day we are changing our hiking shoes for the boneshaker. We are once more discovering a piece of industry culture as it can be found alongside the former rails trails that has been turned into bicycle trails. At first we are cycling to the Nordsternpark close to Gelsenkirchen. Among others we are visiting the Herkules statue on top of the Nordsternbuilding and are relaxing in the beer garden close by.

We are heading on alongside the „Tour Nord“ by „Essen erfahren“ until we reach the park of sculptures, a former mine dump. Disproportionately to the rest of the terrain you really have to climb up to that park with your bike – but it’s worth it. For a magnificent panoramic view you have to climb a little bit further up the “stairway to heaven”. At the end of our tour, we are crossing two cultic kiosks: firstly, the “Schalker” kiosk and then the mobile kiosk directly at the crossing to “Zeche Zollverein” (insider will understand what I am talking about). Nach so viel Anstrengung haben wir uns schließlich einen Jumbo-Cocktail in der Bochumer Innenstadt verdient. After all that cycling we deserve a Jumbo-Cocktail downtown Bochum.

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16 Nov 2014

“Was ich machen würde, wäre gescheiht Arabisch zu lernen”

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The VW-Foundation has recently started a series of lectures called „eye witness, translators, contemporary witness: German foreign correspondent from the 1970ies until today“ in cooperation with the Leibniz-Institut für Europäische Geschichte (IEG).

Incoming the two hosts of the evening, Bernhard Gißibl und Johannes Paulmann of IEG, are getting to the point by stating that “instead of researching on the objective it should be researching with the objective” at German Universities and institutes in the future. Together with Ulrike Freitag, director of the center for modern orient, and Thomas Aders, foreign correspondent in Cairo, the team tries to find a reasonable definition of this statement. It soon becomes obvious through the guest’s input – Ulrich Kienzle had to cancel the event because of illness – that the will to well-balanced reporting or cooperative research has its limits.

Reports stemming from German media on hot spots in the Middle East, such as from Irak, Syria or Egypt, is often controlled by monotonic choice of topic and focusses too much on politics instead of society development. Background reports are (due to shortage of time) scarce goods: “There is more being produced than shown”, says Aders. “Many times TV stations only show what happened between yesterday and today.”

Being asked about the research conditions within the Arabic countries, Freitag reports on her experience with members of the Syrian secret service: “Fortunately”, she describes, “they were quite stupid”. Unfortunately there was no chance to pose questions to the lectures’ participants. However, it became clear that there is no such thing as a well-balanced reporting even in the German media. There are definitely many interesting topics on the mind of German foreign correspondents and German researchers that could provide the TV consumer with a more realistic and more detailed picture on what is going on. However, obstacles to the career path often stand in one’s way.

Being asked what he would do if he’d granted a wish Aders answered: „What I would do is to learn Arabic acceptably“.

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16 Nov 2014

George Clooney in Osterwieck

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Sorry, this entry is only available in Deutsch.

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28 Sep 2014

Die Entdeckung der Langsamkeit

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24 Sep 2014

Kräuter für die Liebe und die Erinnerung

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21 Sep 2014

Tour der Romanik Mägdesprung-Selketal-Falkenstein-Sternhaus

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24 Aug 2013

Das Schleg(e)l-Haus

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Es ist ein wenig ruhig geworden um den Middle East Messenger. Das ist euch vielleicht bereits aufgefallen. Das liegt nicht daran, dass es nichts zu berichten gebe, sondern hängt damit zusammen, dass ich mit meiner Arbeit und meiner Dissertation z.Zt. absolut ausgelastet bin. Trotzdem möchte ich euch aber endlich ein paar neue Bilder aus Bochum, der Anton Corbijn-Austellung und von einer Wanderung im Sauerland, zur Verfügung stellen.

Ende Juni dieses Jahres habe ich meine Freundin in Bochum besucht. Die günstige Gelegenheit habe ich u.a. gleich genutzt, um mir die Anton Corbijn-Austellung “Inwards and onwards” anzuschauen. Anton Corbijn ist jedem Depeche Mode- oder U2-Fan sicherlich ein Begriff. Seine Schwarzweiß-Fotos (s. Galerie) sind beeindruckend. Besonders erstaunt war ich über das Mike Jagger Foto in Frauenkleidern.

Das interessanteste an der Aussstellung war allerdings der einstündige Film, der das bisherige Leben und Schaffen von Anton Corbijn zeigte. Persönlich hätte ich den Künstler ganz anders eingeschätzt, nicht als nachdenklichen, teil schwermütig wirkenden, Einzelgänger. Der Film mit dem Namen “Inside out” hat seinen Namen wirklich verdient und zeigt Anton Corbijn sehr authentisch. Aufgewachsen in den Niederlanden als Sohn eines (emotional abwesendes) Pfarrers, sagt seine Schwester über ihn “ich glaube, Anton ist sehr einsam gewesen.” Die teilweise sehr ehrlichen und sehr nahen Statements von Anton und seiner Familie fand ich sehr beeindruckend, besonders unter dem Aspekt, dass wir in einer Welt leben, die nur von “Superstars” bevölkert zu sein scheint.

Die Ausstellung endete bereits im Juli. Aber es war sicherlich nicht seine letzte.

Ach ja, und ich konnte nicht umhin das “Schleg(e)l-Haus in Bochum abzulichten.

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5 Jan 2013

Doors of Funchal

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On our stroll throuh Funchal we came across a small alley within “Zona Velha” (historic centre). On Rua de Santa Maria, Madeira’s oldest street, we discovered a artistic treasure in the form of colorful painted front doors. The street looks like an Open-Air-mile-of-art. The front door pictures seem to be launched by an initiative of the municipality. The city council invited artists of the region to decorate and beautify the doors of Rua de Santa Maria. Bigshots such as Paul David and Nini Andrade Silva are amongst die “door artists”.

As this part of Funchal happens to be the nightlife district of the city pubs string together in that narrow alley. In the evenings the sound of Fado – that is the portuguese version of blues – is present everywhere. During the day, however, there is enough time to admire the rare pieces of art.

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