Trip.

Jun. 25th, 2015 09:48 pm
sister_luck: (Default)
It is very difficult for me to go to the town of my birth and NOT take pictures of its landmarks.

D-Village )
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American embassy, Brandenburg Gate, glass dome of Reichstag building which houses the German parliament.

Am I a cynic that I am not the least bit surprised that friends spy on friends?

Partners snoop. Parents read diaries.

"It just shows that I care and worry about you."
sister_luck: (Default)
In honour of #merkelphone this is today's picture:



It's the Chancellery Building in Berlin.

Democracy.

Oct. 22nd, 2013 11:32 am
sister_luck: (Default)
In honour of today's first session of the new Bundestag I'll show you what it looks like at night:



We don't have a new government yet - the coalition talks have just started - and this is the building where all the Members of Parliament have their offices:

Here: )
sister_luck: (Default)
There is this one thing people always talk about in relation to shocking historical events: Where were you when you found out? When the horror struck, when you gradually became aware that this was not some the usual small accident but a significant event?

Solingen )
sister_luck: (oops)
The world has gone well and truly mad. Or I guess it was ever thus.

An old guy talked about "new, spectacular and symbolic gestures to wake up the sleep walkers and shake the anaesthetised consciousness" and then killed himself in his country's most famous church.

I don't need to tell you about Woolwich, because you've all seen the guy with the bloodied hands. Putting him on the front pages was the wrong decision I think. Yes, publishing the pictures and video seeems unavoidable, because it's out there on social media anyway and by putting it in the traditional media journalists can add some context, but don't give him front billing. Apart from the usual "Think of the children" argument, which I believe is valid here, it does send a dangerous message to those unstable enough that they want to go out in a blaze of glory. It's the same with school shootings and suicides. And let's be clear about this: These guys essentially wanted to commit suicide by cop - killing a soldier was the main message of course, but they wanted to die in a firefight.
As an aside: I'm glad they survived. I'm still angry that the two guys of our right-wing terror cell managed to kill themselves when their cover was blown.
Back to suicides and murder-suicides and terrorist suicide attacks. The WHO tells (pdf) the media what they can do to prevent suicides and still report about them. It all boils down to a couple of simple points:



  • Take the opportunity to educate the public about suicide

  • Avoid language which sensationalizes or normalizes suicide, or presents it as a solution to problems

  • Avoid prominent placement and undue repetition of stories about suicide

  • Avoid explicit description of the method used in a completed or attempted suicide

  • Avoid providing detailed information about the site of a completed or attempted suicide

  • Word headlines carefully

  • Exercise caution in using photographs or video footage

  • Take particular care in reporting celebrity suicides

  • Show due consideration for people bereaved by suicide

  • Provide information about where to seek help

  • Recognize that media professionals themselves may be affected by stories about suicide



I know that the above guidelines aren't exactly much help with what happened in Woolwich. With suicide bombers (who obviously don't need bombs to scare us - a meat cleaver will suffice) it's not only about trying to prevent others from imitating them, but also about how journalists help them to make their targets feel terror - and the targets aren't only the people who are killed and maimed, but of course everyone living around them. So, don't make them look powerful by giving them a platform.
Remember when there was a debate whether the Unabomber's manifesto should be published or not? This guy promised not to kill more people in exchange for publishing his views - now it doesn't even need that promise and you get a slot on primetime.
Of course, I'm not advocating NOT to report on terrorism, but please use some restraint. It all reminds me of the Gladbecker Geiselgangster Degowski and Rösner. Things have changed though - you don't need a camera team and a bunch of journalists to record a video and interview the culprits. But the German media learned from the events and have kept their distance (at least a little - school shootings and the suicide of German goalkeeper Robert Enke didn't bring out the best in them).
Don't make it look spectacular - in the sense of spectacle as attention-seeking. For some, especially those who feel powerless, that guy with bloodied hands wielding a meat cleaver might have seemed like one of the cool gangsters straight out of a Tarantino film. (Please note, that I am in no way blaming this on violent movies.)

I've got lots more thoughts about the media representation and the general trend of lone wolf duos and terrorism, but this is enough for today.
sister_luck: (oops)
In my wanderings around the internet I stumbled across the case of an American school teacher who was suspended for three days (two without pay) for playing a YouTube video in class. It appears the school's administration and the school district were unhappy because it was a hiphop song about marriage equality and they don't approve. Well, I think that's stupid, and even the school district knows that so they got the teacher on a technicality: She showed the video without pre-screening it herself (which can be problematic if you cannot trust the student who suggests a clip) and because she didn't "submit a completed form about the proposed clip to a building administrator for approval" as required by the staff handbook.
Paperwork about every material I use in class? I'd go crazy and it would seriously cramp my teaching style. Colleagues out there: Is this policy where you teach? How much freedom do you have in selecting material and how much influence do you have on the curriculum?
sister_luck: (rain)
Ugur and Ali have a lot in common: Their families are originally from Turkey, but both were born in Germany. They are friends. Well, most of the time. There is one thing that stands between them: Ali keeps teasing Ugur about being a Kurd: Wer nichts wurde, wurde Kurde. Telling him that he doesn't even have a state to belong to.
At the jobfair all was forgotten and they agreed that the Bundeswehr had the most interesting jobs on offer. That would be the German army. "They only take German nationals", I tell them, keeping all my other thoughts about an army career to myself.
Ugur is unfazed, he wants to apply for a German passport as soon as he can anyway. Ali is suddenly quiet, but not for very long: He tells me he wants to do his next work experience with the police.
sister_luck: (television)
I mentioned in my short Avengers post that I had read a German review with which I had some issues for exhibiting cluelessness.

The reviewer mentioned that the requisite big action sequence is set in "disaster film capital number one New York":

Dass in New York mal echte Wolkenkratzer einstürzten, scheint das US-Action-Kino inzwischen völlig verdrängt zu haben.


Here he is accusing the film (and its viewers) of having forgotten about 9/11 when real skyscrapers fell and in the next sentence he qualifies his statement somewhat by saying that it is silly to criticize the movie-makers for being disrespectful of the dead because this is not a serious film.

Yes, it's a popcorn movie, but how clueless can you get? Does he really think that it does not resonate with Americans when spoilers )

Please, Mr Critic, you don't need to leave your brain behind when watching a movie about superheroes, especially if it is one directed and written by Joss Whedon.

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