Roland Dürre
Thursday July 11th, 2013

Parties, Pirates and Party Programmes – Help! (II)

It still annoys me that the pirates had to drown so unnecessarily. Let me try and explain it with the following example:
In the Pirates’ Wiki, you will find a Simple Manifesto.

On January, 21st, 2013, the document looked like this:

  • We Pirates take the German Constitution very seriously and want everybody to strictly abide by it (that includes the judgements of the BVerfG).
  • All power in the state comes from the people. We are talking our state where we elect representatives and which we finance. We want to be extra alert when it comes to looking what they do with our money.
  • Representatives represent the entire population and have to answer only to their conscience.
  • Digital technology and the internet have caused a massive cultural change. The only thing it can be compared to is the invention of the printing press. We want to accompany our country, our EU, our world on its way towards this change with a critical and creative eye.
  • 0 and 1, along with all data composed with them, belong to the entire humanity.
  • We want to make a secure existence and social participation legally possible for all people.
  • We Pirates want a sustainable treatment of our environment.
  • Drug Politics: the Pirates follow a drug prevention policy that is based on scientific facts.

Basically, all of this sounds quite well. And it is certainly a lot better than all those long-winded “programs” the other parties have written.

The sad news, however, is that until today (July, 11th, 2013) nothing whatsoever was modified in this text. Even though the author posted it on the Pirate Wiki for discussion. And even though modifications would have been highly advisable on all points…

Because if you read with a focus on precision, the formulations actually hurt. Regardless of the fact that quite a lot of good stuff could have come from them. In fact, you could have discussed every individual item and then developed a clear statement.

Here is an example:

Representatives represent the entire population and have to answer only to their conscience.

That sounds great – but it is a total catastrophe. Dialectically spoken, it is nonsense. How can a representative represent the entire population? And: not the people have to answer to their conscience, but their behaviour.

Now my criticism might sound extra pedantic to some. But that is not what it is. Because treating language with the highest possible diligence is a necessary requirement for finding a social consensus – i.e. god political work – in a morally acceptable way.

Stating that representatives are “answerable only to their conscience” makes it a lot worse. People like Hitler and Stalin followed their conscience when they committed all those atrocities. The terrorists who are such a threat to us follow their conscience when they commit their atrocities. A father who beats his child because he believes beating a child is necessary, even though it hurts him more than the child, follows his conscience. A mother who makes her children look small very often follows her conscience.

Consequently, all these people would be good representatives in this sense. After all, they followed their conscience. It is just tough luck that their conscience ignored the shared values of humanity.

I believe I can guess at what message the sentence is meant to convey and what the Pirates (or the one Pirate) wanted to say. Maybe you could say it as follows:

Representatives should follow their behaviourally motivated values autonomously and steadfastly! Because they are elected for what they said in this context. Consequently, they have to be autonomous and refuse squad belief. They must be immune to lobbyism and all kinds of temptations. And the values behind their behaviour must be compatible with the “social consensus” of all humanity.

This is how the Pirates might, for instance, have improved on their manifesto in every topic through an upright and domination-free discourse. And in doing so, they would have had a chance to rub against each other to their liking and goal-oriented while discussing not always trivial content. In this way, they could have found out what is right or wrong, good or bad.

What a great chance that would have been! But no – the Pirates followed the stupidity of other parties and gave themselves a program! And, of course, they get their reward – when it comes to election time. Because in our new world, emancipated citizens want values underlying your behaviour, along with people who remain true to their values. Instead of programs! Because nobody wants dogmatic programs (probably with good reason). After all, decisions will always depend on the context of the time. Consequently, it is unpredictable what future decisions will be right and good. How, then, is anybody supposed to write a reasonable program?

But you can get to the roots of your values and make them your behavioural maxime. And then you can ask questions about your own convictions. And I feel definitely more at home among people who try to gain insight in an ethical and enlightened way than among politicians who dogmatize through their own life program.

The Pirates have missed their historical chance. And, politically spoken, we regressed several decades and will have to start all over again. What a pity!

(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Sunday November 25th, 2012

Parties, Pirates and Party Programs – Help!

It was always held against the Pirate Party that they have no program. So what are they doing? They are coming up with one.

In my opinion, they are making a mistake!

If a truly different party comes up with a program, then the program should be: 
“we have no program!”

Such a party should be capable of deciding upon values (as shared by all members) based on ethical responsibility and agreed upon as a consensus.  And then they could “make these values their own”. One would assume that is enough work.

Why do we need values instead of programs?

Give people a program and they will assume they are right and possess the truth. That is a dangerous assumption, because there is no absolute truth. And if someone or a group of people claim they possess the truth, your inner red light of warning should immediately start blaring full throttle.

So – do not give us programs!

I would very much prefer a commitment in favour of values – and in addition to this a statement or, even better, a promise, for example:

All our decisions will be based on a responsible, ethical balancing of interests. We will, to the best of our ability and using our common sense, always strive for neutral technological competence and feel bound to act according to those aforesaid values!

Now that would be a nice commitment, wouldn’t it? If I were a party member, I would propose a “five-point manifesto”. It might, perhaps, be something like:

  • We will – on purpose – dispense with a program.
  • We trust in the values found by enlightenment, its knowledge, reason and honesty (transparency).
  • We respect the German Constitution (or even better: The Bavarian Constitution) and the UN Charta .
  • We will follow common sense and use the “Golden Rule “.
  • Our decisions will always be based on a responsible balance of interests, our behavior will always follow our values.

That would be it!

But I do not think it makes any sense at all to establish a new party. Still, I certainly could list a few values to guide a new party:

  • demanding the freedom to live by the rule of: “living self-responsibly and being able to do so“,
  • managing to have a violence-free society with fear-free areas, with a minimum of punishment/vengeance and without wars,
  • at long last make men and women “equal“,
  • make all relevant levels, and in particular the public area, as transparent as possible
  • and
  • promote a social climate with a relative right to property and freedom of trade.

Incidentally, many of these issues have been wonderfully formulated and written down in the Bavarian Constitution . Unfortunately, it has become a little utopian . Neither is it valid any longer, because the German Constitution has precedence. Still, it is and will always be a truly beautiful piece of text.

But back to parties. If now the Pirate Party also come up with a program, then I truly no longer know whom to give my vote to. So the only remaining option for me is to join the majority of non-voters.

Because I definitely do not wish to give my vote somewhere between mechanical function and measure catalogues and dogmatic statements of belief. Both are cunningly served in a camouflage packet. I call them camouflage programs, because – as we now again see with the Pirate Party – the really hard-core topics have to be excluded, anyway. Otherwise, a compromise is not possible. A social consensus cannot be made out, just like there is not the slightest hint of a social outline.

This is not about demanding that “everybody must unconditionally be provided with the means to survive“ or “that all nuclear power plants be closed down in three years”.  Neither is it about parental money or educational money. Or “A Free Ride For Free Citizens“, depending on what you believe in either for car drivers or those who go by train.

Not to mention meaningless declarations that you intend to solve conflicts without using violence. And whenever it gets difficult, you want the masses to decide. Without before having generated the necessary transparency.

No, this is about having a reasonable concept in management and still make more good decisions than bad ones. And in that respect, programs will not be any help. This seems pretty clear, because change comes at such enormous speed. How can I decide today what I will do in two years’ time if by then the facts will be totally altered? I am fed up with seeing people speculating about an unpredictable future, also in politics.

Consequently, what I want when I vote is a decision in favor of values. And I would like to trust that my representatives and the politicians want to and can and will act according to their values.

Mind you, I, too, am not in the possession of absolute truth. Still: I believe these ideas are worth being discussed. On the other hand, let me say:

Dear Pirates!

Maybe that is why you get these poor results in the current polls? Because you are now turning into a “normal party“. And we certainly have enough of those already. I do not think we need yet another one. Consequently, the word might soon be: easy come, easy go.

(Translated by EG)

mehr »

Roland Dürre
Tuesday October 19th, 2010

(Deutsch) Umfrage zu Piraten-Partei (IF-Blog)

Sorry, this entry is only available in German.

It has now been almost fifty years since I was first permitted to vote. And, as far as I can remember, I also always took part in the elections. Because my super-ego always ordered me to go and vote – even if I did not feel like it.

Only a few days ago, I discovered that the voting procedures (and consequently also the rules) are quite different for federal elections, state elections and district elections.

Initially, I was outraged about my deficient political education. Then I asked friends I consider wise democrats – and it turned out that they, too, were quite ignorant. During the electoral campaigns and from the messages on quite a few election posters, I discovered that even some of the parties and their candidates, at least partly, do not know the differences between the federal, state and district electoral systems.

That was a consolation, but it also motivated me to describe two important differences:
As opposed to the federal election rules, the Bavarian State Elections are organized in such a way that the first votes, too, will be counted following the proportional representation (see: Bayerisches Landtagswahlsystem and Bundestagswahlrecht)!

When it comes to the district elections in Bavaria, the five-per-cent rule is ignored. Conversely, there is a minimum rule for the Bavarian State elections (until 1973, the Bavarian rule said ten per cent for the district level. Since 1973, we have now had the state-wide five per cent regulation as written down in Art. 14 of the Bavarian Constitution. Since the Bavarian Electoral System has no Basic Mandate Clause as we have in the Federal Electoral Regulations, this also means that persons who won their seats might actually not receive a mandate).

What does that mean?

First and foremost, the voter in Bavaria should, when giving his first vote, not apply the same reasoning as he would in Federal Elections, because he might do something he had not intended to do.

Secondly, if you give your vote in the district elections, you can also elect “small parties” without the risk that these votes will practically be cancelled and titled “others”, as would be the case in State Elections.

You remember?

Tomorrow, we have both State and District Elections. And remember: there are different rules for the two although you vote on the same day in the same election office.

Some more information:

In the 2013 district elections, the CSU did not have the absolute majority in any of the seven Bavarian districts. In the district parliaments, we do not only have the representatives of the well-known parties CSU CSU (89), SPD (38) , FDP (6), FW (21), Grüne (18), but also representatives of the Leftists (5), the BP (6), the ÖDP (6), the Franken (2) and also the Piraten (4). I took the numbers of the 2013 elections from Wikipedia.

I do not understand why the parties that know they will hardly have a chance to top the 5% in Bavaria do not tell their potential voters that there is no 5% clause for the district elections. Presumably, quite a few voters would probably elect a small party.

I would propose that we standardize the voting procedures – and we could at the same time reform it. To might make it easier for the citizens.

(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Friday October 5th, 2018

Is Democracy in Danger?

Here is what I think about the Bavarian Elections in a little more than a week.

Between ruins (South Georgia – whaling).

Democracy in Danger?
I hear this question more and more often.
And my answer is:
Yes – but it has been in danger for a long time already!

The democratic idea includes that people who live in a country (and therefore are this social system) elect their representatives who then find social consensus in parliament and realize said consensus in the form of prudent legislation. But this has not worked well in a long time.

My friend Detlev Six writes:
Liberal democracy is the most sensitive creature of the world. Nurse the baby!

Well, I, too, think that democracy is a rather tiny plant that should be well tended. However, that is not what we do. Instead, said plant has been threatened and harmed by various pests for decades.

I identified the following reasons why democracy in Bavaria and many other countries has been in the decline:

  • A general weakness in education and learning.
    Schools and universities produce consumers and workers who are more and more adapted to what the system needs, instead of autonomous persons in an ethically responsible awareness of values.
  • Party oligarchy.
    The parties no longer work towards the “social consensus”. They do not want the best for the people but continuing power. For said power, you need votes, which they want at any cost.
  • Interest associations and lobbyism.
The citizens see that the government, the parliament and the parties are ruled by foreign powers where the individual interest has priority over the interests of the people.
  • Marketing makes elections ridiculous.
How electoral campaigns are organized irritates the people and de-values the elections. You can now again see it in Bavaria. What nonsense you read on the posters that have been distributed all over the streets? Neither do the manifestos of the parties convince anybody. You get the impression that the party where most money flows into marketing and where people are best manipulated will win the elections.
  • The candidate selection and the internal party sleaze.
Again and again, party members that have never been elected into top positions get them.
  • Feeling powerless.
Huge parts of the population see themselves as powerless (either because that is how they feel or because they really are).

However, the “democracy in danger” question is now asked because the populists in Europe have such success and because of the imagined – and perhaps also real – threat of rightist movements and nationalist tendencies in Germany.

However, I believe that these problems are just a consequence of the factors I listed above and other similar developments. For me, this means that we ourselves caused the entire dilemma. By democratic failure. Both actively and passively.

And, as so often, those that lament most about what is wrong are those who caused it. We will probably have to accept that it is all our own fault, if we like it or not.

So whom am I supposed to give my vote?

I do not yet know. I do not like the Green Party because they were the ones who, along with the SPD, made it possible for our armed forces to be stationed abroad. CSU and SPD do not look electable to me. As far as the CSU is concerned, this is not only because of the current protagonists. The SPD did not understand #newwork at all, although this could (should?) be their topic. The FDP covers its clientele policy by promoting an “educational push“ and is millions of miles away from a “liberal“ policy, which means I cannot give them my vote. As I see it, the Left Party has some nice and good things in their program, but they also say many adventurous things. When it comes to “work life”, they are just as bad as the SPD. The AfD is not at all my world. That leaves only the ÖDP, which looks honest to me, or the “Die Partei”, which at least does not have a manifesto that makes you laugh as much as that of the other parties. Well, and ever since they tried to write a common political manifesto (see IF-Blog five years ago), I no longer like the Pirates either.

But here comes what is most important: 
Many of us are really well off. Let us enjoy life and give a little bit of our strength and nourishment (and nursing) to the little plant “liberal democracy”! And the first step is probably to actually go and vote.

(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Sunday September 10th, 2017

Another “Coming Out“ – #BTW2017

A cynical party-parody. Unfortunately, I mean it seriously, which makes it a sad thing.

In two weeks, I will again have to vote.

Perhaps 50 years ago.

My civil “super-ego” forces me to go to the elections. After all, I do believe that democracy is doubtless one of the better political systems, even if ours has been seriously perverted and consequently suffered huge damage due to “election marketing”, the dominance of lobbyism when it comes to legislation and government and a party oligarchy.

Besides, the party I vote for will not only get my vote but also one Euro from the state (if certain requirements are met ).

Consequently, I have spent quite some time already in preparation for the next election Sunday. Here is the current state of my personal evaluation. I chose the exclusion principle:

For historical reasons, I cannot vote for the big “people’s parties“ CDU and CSU. They both are responsible for the German re-armament against the expressed wish of the German people. In quite a goal-oriented way, it was prepared by the protagonist Adenauer immediately after WW-II and then realized as soon as possible in a fashion that I would call “criminal”. 
In doing so, they failed to take advantage of a unique historical chance. A chance that perhaps no other country except Germany ever had – which was due to its miserable history in the 20th century. As a consequence of the establishment of the “Bundeswehr”, the GDR followed suit three years later with the creation of the “Volksarmee” – and that was the moment up from which two German states, both heavily armed, confronted each other on either side of a brutal border. 
Without re-armament, the revival of the German weapons industry would not have been possible, either. Another result was forced labour that they called “compulsory military service”. It cost me 18 months of my life. 
Moreover, both “C-parties” have – to this day – seen to it that the political and social characteristics of the FRG are such that it became an opportunistic and egoistic welfare system. Protection of your property has become the highest social value. Even the “C” in the name cannot camouflage that fact. 
Under CDU dominated governments, the state became a marionette of the industry, the destruction of the environment (air, water, soil, nature) was accepted and even promoted (!), as for instance can be seen in the war on the streets. It became the ruling task of the educational system that young people should be turned into consumers and trained to be the labouring masses for the industry. Social solidarity was misinterpreted and freedom was sacrificed. . 
Parties that, to this day, believe that all these measures were good will not get my vote.

Neither can I, these days, vote for the SPD and Green Party, because they not only supported all these things, but also must be made responsible for making foreign German Armed Forces activities possible. At the time, the red-green coalition broke a taboo:
The German Armed Forces were no longer exclusively for defence, but “in order to take world-wide responsibility”. Consequently, that was the time when the FRG started to not only export weapons but also war. 
Unfortunately, if you take a close look at history, the polemic rhyme: “Who was the traitor, social democrats?” is only too true for the SPD. Even my agreeing with the ideal of social democracy cannot make up for this. 
As I see it, the Green Party developed from an idealistic-moralistic party to become an indoctrinated event – besides, I observe that the change from being an opposition to becoming a reigning party took place in an exceptionally foul way: ideals were sacrificed for positions and power.

I do not want to give my vote to the FDP. I am not really familiar with their negative historic achievements because I never took great notice of the party. However, in my perception, the FDP is and always was a party that – with the exception of a few protagonists – always acted rather opportunistic. It also basically always functioned as a party of patronage. And they received even more huge donations from industry than the other aforementioned parties. Besides: if someone demands and propagates FREEDOM yet does not know the meaning of the word, then I do not want to support them.

So what other parties do we have?

Currently, the AfD is rather successful. Well, I need not give reasons in this article why I cannot and will note vote for them. Just like the NPD is out of the question for me. Luckily, it seems like the NPD is no longer relevant. Regardless of the fact that, for reasons I cannot follow, the aforementioned parties constantly seem to try and forbid the NPD, rather than the AfD.

Next, let us take a look at the “Freien Wähler“ and the Freie Bürger Union (FBU). In Wikipedia, several groups of voters  and one small party call themselves “Freie Bürger Union“. They are present in various German cities and constituencies. Bavaria is a regional centre of these groups. And: they consist of bourgeois conservative or rightist-liberally  oriented regional communal politicians, activists and sometimes former representatives of the CDU/CSU who are no longer party members. I cannot give them my vote. 
Among other things, the Freien Wähler want to strengthen municipal self-administration. Their given reason for becoming candidates both on county and state level is that the politics of county and state undermine the independence of the municipalities The party is in favour of separate financial responsibility for the municipalities. On the European level, the party demands that excluding a region must become a set rule in parliament. I cannot vote for them.

So now I need to discuss the “Piraten”. According to Wikipedia, this party considers itself the party of the Information Society and thus as part of the international movement for participation when it comes to the change, they give high priority to “digital revolution” and consequently the information society. I rather like that. In fact, I already voted for the Pirates once in the past. To me, they seemed like a party full of values that, luckily, did not have a programmatic approach. Instead, they basically want to provide their know-how on digitalization, which is a focal point of their agenda. I also knew some members of the Pirate party. They were small entrepreneurs or else freelancers. Some of them were quite nice. 
Then, however, the Pirates thought they had to write a program and thus give up the principle of free actions following the best possible knowledge. In my eyes, this was how they exchanged their agile souls for the hope of success. Ever since then (as a matter of course), their development was in one direction only: down. For me, they were no longer a party I could vote for. What a pity.

Now I already analysed 10 (in words: ten) parties and none of them can get my vote! Am I heading towards abstaining? Will I let my election-Euro go unused? Well, not all is lost, because there are a few parties left.

I find Die Linke in Wikipedia. It says that Die Linke (aka  Linkspartei )  was created through the merging of the SPD splitter WASG and the Linkspartei.PDS. The latter is a result of a re-naming of the SED successor PDS in 2005. This is how Die Linke suffers from a stigma that, to this day, has prevented it from becoming acceptable in society. Allegedly, there are still numerous SED and Stasi people on board, although this seems unlikely to me, if only for demographic reasons. If I were the Wahlomat kind of person, I would probably vote for “Die Linke”, because in their program, I find quite a few things that I absolutely agree with. 
On the other hand, I own a small but industriously earned amount of money – and there is a historic fear in me that the communists might wish to take my millions away from me. As they say: “Only the most stupid calves will vote for their own butchers.“
Apropos calves: there is a Song, but it is directed against the AfD – rather than against Die Linke. However, I do not wish to be a stupid calf.
On the other hand, perhaps I should vote for Die Linke, after all? With modern “democratic honesty”, you should probably vote for the party that you like best. Consequently, I cannot discount the possibility of giving them my vote. Albeit without enthusiasm. But then, enthusiasm left me a long time ago.

But I have not yet reached that stage. I keep looking. Riding my bike to Unterhaching, I see a poster advertising “Die Grauen”. I am thinking of my sparse pension. If I had nothing on top of it, I would be really poorly off. Regardless of the fact that I paid the highest possible pension insurance for decades.
However: Die Grauen have the slogan “For all Generations”. What a disappointment. They are not in favour of us retired people, after all.
However, I find it nice, because I have children and grandchildren. And I want them, too, to be well off. 
According to Wikipedia, “Die Grauen” see themselves in the tradition of the movement Graue Panther that was founded in the 1970ies by Trude Unruh. As opposed to this movement, the party does not see itself as a party for the elderly, but instead has an all-encompassing political approach that they also want to see reflected in the name tag amendment. They formulate their philosophy in the foreword of the party program: “In a global world that moves faster and faster, Die Grauen want to combine the energy of youth with the experience of the elderly and form a society worth living in”. Well, this seems to sound nice. For me, however, it contains too many buzzwords. So I will gladly forget Die Grauen.

I start getting desperate. I found a dozen parties – and only one of them is even remotely an option. But – as they say: never give up. If you fall down, you have to get up again. Clean your mouth and continue.

So I continue. And lo and behold, I see a poster with a very special message:
Don’t be a Horst!

That is something I understand immediately. I definitely would not wish to be one. When he was Minister of Health in Berlin, he committed enough crimes. And now he is king of Bavaria. 
Except: the poster advertises “Die Partei”. According to Wikipedia, DIE PARTEI  is a party for work, for a constitutional state, for animal protection, for elite promotion and for basis-democratic initiatives (Apronym: Die PARTEI). It is a German small party that was founded in 2004 by a few editors of the satire magazine Titanic and distinctly has parody character.“ 
We also read: Die PARTEI meets the legal requirements formulated in the Parteiengesetz. However, some doubt that their program is actually meant seriously. Among other things, they imitate characteristics and electoral campaign methods used by other parties and occasionally some of the members are seen on other party’s events.

Well, basically I am the type of reader who reads POSTILLON, but you must never be too one-sided. “Die Partei“ is also called the satire party. When I hear satire, I think cabaret. And immediately, I think of people like Bruno Jonas, Claus Wagner, Dieter Hildebrandt, Gerhard Polt, Jörg Hube, Josef Hader, Georg Schramm, Maximilian „Max“ Uthoff, Sigi Zimmerschied, Urban Priol (Pelzig) and Werner Schneyder. Not to forget the much-loved Hanns Dieter Hüsch. These are all people I saw many times and some of them I was personally acquainted with. They all absolutely impressed me with their sensitivity, their sharp intellect and their precise logics. I admire how they were able to retain their sense of humour in the face of everything. These are people I managed to have honest discussions with quite quickly.

Most of the cabaret people I saw on TV or when I went to their shows made a huge impression on me. Maybe it makes sense, after all, to actually vote for a “satire party”. Especially if such a party offers itself to frustrated non-voters who need to be persuaded to vote at all? 
Unfortunately, this party, too, has a shadow looming over it. A short time ago, I followed a constructive facebook discussion about whether or not anybody can call himself responsible if he votes for a satire party in times like ours, where the social spiral rapidly points downwards and huge problems loom over the horizon. Because times are basically the exact opposite of hilarious. 
As I see it, this is a serious argument. But then, maybe we should solve the problems with serious humour? So now I found another party besides Die Linke that might qualify as a recipient of my cross and one Euro.

However, I want more. This is not the way to get on. So now I use another concept of thought and ask myself what was the last relevant social change in Bavaria I considered progress and which party initiated it.

The answer is easy – it was Non-Smokers’ Protection. In Bavaria, it has now even been enforced on the Octoberfest, which is something that seemed to be unthinkable for a long time. Consequently, this year, I can really look forward to the Octoberfest that takes place at the same time as the elections. I will spend the evening of election day with friends drinking in a smoke-free environment. In Bavaria, the protection of non-smokers was initiated after a plebiscite “Non-Smokers’s Protection” on July, 4th,2010 after a successful  petition for a referendum  “For true non-smokers’ protection!“. The petition had aimed at changing the Bavarian Health Protection Law (Gesundheitsschutzgesetz, GSG). As a consequence, they eventually installed a ban on smoking  in all pubs without exception. The C party had been against it on the grounds that, allegedly, the entire Bavarian restaurant sector would be ruined. The initiative had come from Sebastian Frankenberger and the ÖDP.
Well, my discussion of parties had actually not yet mentioned the ÖDP. Incidentally, their program is a fairly good match to my ideas. However, I sometimes fear that there might be a lot of protestant frugality and catholic saintliness in this party. However, as long as the goals are the right ones and I am not forced to become a catholic…

So now I found three parties that might actually be worthy of my vote: Die Linke, the Partei and the ÖDP. During the next few weeks, I will gather some more information and think about it – and then I will decide. After all, I know full well that decisions are always made under uncertainty.

And now, for the time being, there is an end to me “outings”.

(Translated by EG)

Today, when I rode my bike home, I saw a DKP poster at the Ottobrunn S-Bahn station. It said: “More Income, Less Armament”. Well, that sounds reasonable and rational. But can anybody vote for DKP? Somehow or other, that would be strange.

Roland Dürre
Monday July 4th, 2016

Island Hopping – here is my report!

And it was wonderful!

Between May, 28th and June, 8th, we (Barbara and yours truly) went to the Cyclades on the Aegean Sea (Kykladen im Ägäischen Meer) for the first time in our lives. We did some kind of “island hopping”. We had no bicycles with us and very little luggage. Greece is a country we often visited in the past, in recent years on the Peloponnese, but we had never seen those wonderful islands. Sometimes in the past, we went to Crete, either with the entire family or just the two of us, riding our bikes. That was about 30 years ago.

One reason why we took this trip was that our children had told us about their adventures. They had done some island hopping more than once and always been rather enthusiastic with their reports. So now we also wanted to make the same experience. Thus, early this summer was the first time we visited the Cyclades.

Barbara had prepared well for the journey: she gathered information on the history, geography and much more about the Cyclades. She had also found ferry connections, places to stay and such. The actual booking was only for the way out to Athens and back in and the first overnight stay in a Piraeus hotel. Everything else was done in an agile manner when we were there – for me, this is the best way to “travel freely”.

The journey lasted eleven nights with little luggage. Here is my report on these twelve wonderful days. As always when I write for my IF blog, I wrote it down for myself – but maybe some of you will also wish to do some island hopping. In that case, you are going to get a lot of information and motivation. And if you want to know more, feel free to contact me.

Abstieg zur Chora in Serifos am letzten Tag.

Descent to Chora in Serifos the last day.

Saturday, May, 28th, – Flying to Athens

Our flight is Lufthansa LH1750. It is scheduled to depart from Munich at 8:55 hours. That is a rather convenient time. We can take the S-Bahn train from Neubiberg at 6:31 hours. That means we leave home at 6.15 hours and walk to the station. If I get some island hopping, I will gladly rise early. The partner ticket to the airport is 23 EURO. In theory, you could use it for the entire day… But this is not possible because we fly away.

The S7 arrives in Neubiberg on time, but by the time we reach Munich-East, we are a little late (unfortunately, delays on our service line are more the rule than the exception). Due to the short time for changing trains, we do not catch our S8 to the airport. But this is ok: knowing that optimism is something you should not have when it comes to S-Bahn trains, we had expected this and started earlier than strictly necessary.

We had checked-in via internet on the previous day from home and printed our boarding passes. Since we go “economy light”, there is no luggage to check in, so we can go directly to the security counter and on to the gate. The entire flight – two persons return – was 236.02 Euro, all fees and taxes included, with the actual price for the flight relatively cheap (22 € per person, i.e. 88 € of the entire price). Frankly, I do not understand why it is so cheap to go by plane. One reason is probably that airlines are subsidized and that there is no tax on Kerosene.

The call for boarding is on time, so is the departure. Travelling time is 02h 20min. In Athens, all clocks are one hour ahead of Germany, expected arrival time is 12:15 (local time). We arrive a little ahead of time at Athens Eleftherios Venizelo … airport.

First, we go to our Piraeus Hotel. We go by Metro. The airport service is the “red” line, the Piraeus service the green line. That means we have to change trains after more than 10 stops. On the whole, the Metro travelling time was a little more than an hour, the cost was low – 15 € for both of us together– a single trip from the airport is 10 €, but I pay less because I am more than 65 years old, so for me it is only 5 €. A partner ticket for normal persons would have been 18 €. However, the “normal” Athens Metro tickets (not for airport trips) are a lot less expensive.

Barbara chose the hotel because it is both close to the Metro station and close to the harbour. It is the Anita Hotel. I can recommend it. We had booked and paid through and one night for both of us without breakfast was 35 € . Breakfast is an additional 6 € per person and includes the transfer to the harbour. The Anita is a clean hotel, the people are friendly and the rooms are ok. It is very close to the centre of Piraeus and near the great harbour.

We arrive at the hotel early in the afternoon and consequently have enough time left for Piraeus. We enjoyed that time. Before we started enjoying our time, we decided upon our next leg: We were going to Santorin! So we went to the harbour to buy our tickets. And then the joy began. Near the yacht harbour, we eat a small Greek meal (with wine), walk through the old city centre, and then it is evening already.

Sunday, May, 29th – To Santorin by Ferry

The Delos of Blue Star Ferries starts its journey with us on board at 7:25 hours. The trip to Santorin is rather long. It is well over six hours, because Santorin is situated at the southern end of the Cyclades. Like all other ships we used, the Delos is not a high-speed ship. The ticket is 39.50 € per person, which is actually a rather steep price. The “high speeds” are a lot more expensive and faster, but they are also louder and not very comfortable. On these fast ships, there is hardly any room to sit under the open sky and it is not enjoyable to remain outside.

On board the Delos, we enjoy the sun, the wind blowing through our hair, the view of the Mediterranean Sea and of the islands we pass. Whenever there is a stop on the way, sailing into a harbour is an adventure that gives us special impressions. We arrive at the harbour of Thira on the island of Santorin around 3 p.m.. This is the “new” ferry harbour.

From the harbour, the street goes up to Santorin. The place is rather crowded, even though we are out of season. Many coaches, among them quite a few “local buses” wait for the stream of travellers from the ships onto the island. The bus ticket for the local bus is 2.30 € per person, it is a steep ascent and takes around 20 minutes. At the top of the hill, in the city, there is a “coach station” where we exit. And this is where all the activity is.

First and foremost, we look for a hotel and find the picturesque Lepa. We can choose between a simple room with a balcony and one that is a little more luxurious without balcony/patio – and we take the one with the balcony. The view is of the enchanting hotel area with a small swimming pool. In fact, it is a view as you could easily find it in one of those (older) Greek tourist leaflets. The hotel is cheap, our room is 60 € for two persons and two night. It is situated very conveniently, close to the city centre and not far from the “coach station”.

From our balcony, we have a view of the ocean to the north-east. To be sure, it is not quite as pompous and exciting as the famous west view, but then, it is a rather quiet beauty. Ours is the experience of the pre-season, because during the full season, the rooms cost three times as much – if you find cheap ones at all. Even now, room rates in Santorin only know one direction: up. During the high season, agile travelling is probably not possible this easily and with such a low budget.

We have enough time left for nice strolls. Back at the hotel, we make friends with our landlady. She recommends a restaurant. The evening stroll is along the Caldera. Regardless of this not being the high season, it is quite crowded. To me, it seems like half of the people come from Asia. We hardly hear any German. After the Asians, most of the travellers are French, Italian or English. As we continue our journey, we will not see many more Asians, but then, there will not be many Germans either.

The evening sun makes the panorama even better. Far below, you see the old harbour (where we did not arrive). Two crusaders lie there, their tenders commuting between the ships and the harbour. We can see the steep path that winds its way to the boat dock. We also see tourist boats as they arrive and depart.

When it gets dark, we go to the restaurant our landlady had recommended. It was certainly good advice and we are happy and well-nourished when we go back to the hotel Lepa. When our landlady discovers we are back, she serves us two glasses of cool white wine on the balcony. She also gives us advice for the next day. We choose the least expensive boat trip (20 € per person for around 3.5 hours) and book it instantly. Then we enjoy the evening on our balcony in Santorin and look forward to tomorrow!

Monday, May, 30th – A Day on Santorin

We start the day with a cup of coffee on the hotel roof. And we enjoy the wonderful view. It is a truly nice morning, warm and comfortable with a fresh breeze. We take our time as we go to the harbour where our boat trip is to start at 11:00 hours. As we pass a bakery, we buy some “provisions”. We walk down to the harbour. Alternatively, we could have ridden a donkey or taken the cable car.

The ship arrives on time at 11 a.m. It looks a little touristy. Many Asians board with us and in no time, we start talking friendly with a few nice young ladies from Hongkong. The program includes a stop for submerging in the warm sulfuric water near the ocean and a hike around the crater.

We return to the old harbour around 14:30 h. Now we have to go back up the narrow path. Well, it is rather hot and we are lazy. After all, there is the cable car and the donkey. Barbara takes the donkey and I take the cable car, both are 5 €. And then we can recuperate.

Later in the afternoon, we again meet our landlady. We ask her advice, because we are looking for an island that is a little less noisy. With not so many tourists. Do not misunderstand me: as far as tourism is concerned, Santorin is nowhere near as bad as what I saw in North African countries, like Egypt, Morocco, or Tunisia, or even in India and China. It is a lot more moderate and on a high level – perhaps a little “chic”. With many discotheques, none of which we went to. You really want to have seen it all.

Our landlady recommends Folégandros. As it will turn out, this was extremely good advice. We discover that a ship will depart from Thira with the destination Folégandros very early tomorrow morning. It will leave at 7:00 hours. You should be at the bus station one hour before the ferry departs. That means we want to rise early.

Tuesday, May, 31st – Continuing to Folégandros

When we bought our tickets, they told us we have to take the bus that leaves for the harbour at 6 a.m. However, there is no bus at the central bus station. Instead, there is a hand-written piece of paper on the board telling us that the bus has been cancelled. Well, what a fortunate coincidence that the taxis are leaving just next to it. Consequently, this is my first journey by taxi in a long time. The fixed price to the harbour is 15 €. The driver overtakes whatever is in his way, which means that we go down the snaky slope quite quickly.

The ferry is called ADAM. KORAIS and belongs to ZANTE FERRIES. As all ferries in Greece, it produces a big black plume of smoke that follows the ship and will turn yellow after having travelled a certain distance. This is something that could easily be avoided, but that would cost money. And for this kind of improvement, there seems to be no money left, not only in Greece.

We enter and soon the Korais, with us on board, leaves Thira and “steams“towards Folégandros. The trip is never boring and lasts three hours. The tickets are 25 € per person. On the way, we have short stops on two more islands. Shortly before 10 a.m., we arrive in Folégandros and the KORAIS continues her way to other islands – among them Milos.

In Folégandros everything is, indeed, totally different from Santorin, even at the harbour. We wonder if we should spend the night in the Chora and look for a local bus. The local bus is a wonderful old-timer, an old Mercedes minibus with less than 20 seats. It seems to have been made more like in the 1970ies than in the 1980ies.

The nice driver – we will see him again during the next few days – recommends to stay in the Chora and check into the hotel MELTEMI. With open windows, the bus climbs up to the Chora. Chora basically means “central place”. It is the name for all the small towns on the Cyclades that seem to cling to the steep precipices in such a picturesque fashion.

The recommended hotel is close to the bus station and not far from the centre of the Chora. We truly like it. We have a very nice room with a beautiful bathroom, this time we also have a patio. We book two nights (60 € for both of us) and discover that the bus will continue to Agali at 11 a.m..Agali is on a beach that is described in the brochure as the most beautiful island.

Consequently, we quickly pick up our bathing costumes and go back to the old-timer bus. It takes us to Agali. The beach looks southwards. Everything is quiet and peaceful. Not much grows on this island with its water shortage. In particular, there are no trees. Consequently, there is nothing on the beach to protect you against the sun. However, since there are all these small taverns in Agali, one can easily manage. At 4.45 p.m., the local bus returns and takes us back to the Meltemi.

We close the wonderful day by planning ahead. We find a very cheap ferry that leaves for Milos in three days and costs only. 8 € (eight EURO) per person. We really like Folégandros. It is a very quiet island, without “tourist exploitation”. It is a place where you can really let your soul go free. Consequently, we extend our stay at the hotel Meltemi by another night and stroll through the Chora. Before dinner, we buy the tickets for the ARTEMIS (HELLENIC SEAWAYS) to Milos on June, 3rd, in a travel agency.

And in the travel agency, we find another attractive advertisement. There is a ship tour on the next day. For 30 EURO, you can go around the entire island, it is all day and the meals are included. There are many stops if you want to submerge in the water or just enjoy the view. We book it. After our duty is done, we now focus on the physical joy. For dinner, we find a tavern that is truly fascinating. After a last stroll through the Chora another wonderful day is over.

Wednesday, June, 1st – All Around the Island

Today, we are circling the island by ship, we depart from Chora-Port at 11 a.m. After a leisurely morning, we take “our” bus to the harbour at 10.30 a.m. – it is always the same driver. The cruise is really enjoyable. The ship offers plenty of space, we are a small and rather international group. The two of us are the only Germans.

The tour is really worth its money, the beaches for swimming beat vie with each other for beauty. There are also a few sights to see. There is a special appeal to diving directly into deep water from the boat. Aegean waters are rather warm even this early in the season, the food on board the ship is excellent, the people on the ship are all very nice. So what else could we desire? We are making the acquaintance of the island from a totally new perspective. On the Cyclades, it absolutely makes sense to circle the islands by boat for a better understanding.

After a great day with many impressions, we return to the Chora harbour around 5 p.m., the bus is already waiting for us and takes us back up to our hotel. Before going to the Chora for dinner, we walk up to the church that looks down on the Chora from a mountain. The small church is one of the very few architectural sights on the island. Then we walk back down the snaky slope to have dinner.

Today, we test another restaurant. The food tastes delicious, but the landlord seems a little arrogant. At least that is our impression. This is something we only experienced once on the entire trip. Consequently, we will not allow this to put a damper on our high spirits. Instead, we happily look back upon another wonderful day on Folégandros.

Thursday, June, 2nd – Hiking and Swimming

We have become familiar with the island through our boat round trip. On the map, we find a beautiful hiking path to Agalis, which is on the beach we had visited on our first day on Folégandros. We start our journey. The path is well marked with signs. First, it is an incline. Everything is so beautiful: the ocean, the mountains, the sky – everything has this colourful glamour you always seem to find in Mediterranean regions.

Shortly before Agali, we find another beach: Fira. We want to do some swimming – and we are all by ourselves. Neither did we meet anyone when we were hiking. So why wear a bathing trunk? Well – we undress and jump into the water. It is a dream. After our swim, we continue to our original destination: Agali. It is a true pleasure to hike. The path continues towards Agios Nikolaus. Since it is such a nice hike, we decide to walk there, too.

After a few kilometres, we come to a tavern that is just being opened. We rest for a late lunch. This tavern can only be reached on foot or by ship. There is a freight elevator from the landing stage on the ocean. The landlord is delighted. We are actually his first customers this season. Consequently, there is not too much to choose from on the menu. But it is certainly absolutely adequate. Wine, grilled squid, a wonderful Greek salad, patates… Again, all we can say is: What more can you desire?

After a long rest with a beautiful view, we start on our way back to the hotel. Of course, there is another break for swimming. On our way back we even get a few raindrops, which is perhaps a rare thing. After a small tour through the Chora, we return to the tavern where we had been eating so well on our first day. Again, it tastes just as delicious.

Friday, June, 3rd – Milos is calling

Departure for Milos is in the evening: at 19:10. We can remain in our room in Meltemi until we depart. Consequently, we treat ourselves to a cosy morning in the Chora with a wonderful late breakfast. Among other things, we eat a rare treat – white Taramas, a local specialty that tastes absolutely delicious.

Later, we decide we want another swim. From the Chora, you first hike a few kilometres uphill until you come to three old windmills. Then you go down to the Vorina beach. It is another wonderful hike. Quasi as a reward, we get another special place where we can swim. We are totally at leisure and enter the water several times. Then we go back up the hill.

Uphill means back to the hotel. We take our showers to be fresh for the journey, pay our 90 € for the three nights we stayed, pack our luggage and are at the bus station on time. Our driver picks us up at 18:30 with his small Mercedes and takes us down to the harbour.

The ARTEMIS is a little more than 20 minutes late when is starts its sea voyage at 19:30 hours. First, it visits another island close by, then the course is set for Milos. It is going to be an impressive journey as dusk falls. The skies have a red gleam, the clouds are even more picturesque than they had been during the

Since our arrival in Milos will be rather late, we log into the internet on the ship and try to find a hotel near Milos harbour through We find the Hotel Rigas. They have a luxury apartment including breakfast for two that costs 90 € for two nights. We book it. The hotel boss personally picks us up, regardless of the fact that the hotel is less than one kilometre from the bus station. That is just how it is done in this region. This time around, we do not sleep in the Chora. Instead, we stay lower than the Chora at the Papikinos Beach, which is opposite the harbour. Around midnight, we check into the hotel – and we are now

At the harbour, we find a small pita stand that is just closing down. But for us, they have something left. We are now in Milos – a little exhausted, but very happy.

Saturday, June, 4th – Kleftiko

In the morning, after a tasty breakfast, we walk to Rigas harbour. We learned that it is probably not a bad idea to first circle an island by ship. There are many day-trip boats in Milos. They are in competition with each other for potential passengers strolling along the harbour. We choose Marco’s yacht. Marco is the skipper, the catamaran is his. He was born in Milos. His seaman is called Happy and comes from Crete. The trip is not a round trip covering the entire island. It is only to Kleftiko and back. It costs 50 € per person, including all food and drinks (soft drinks, wine, beer). Some other trips are less expensive, some more expensive. We are 12 guests on board, the maximum number on this ship would be 24. Everything is very relaxed and we have lots of fun.

Marco was born on Milos and knows it well. He tells us a lot about the pirates who used to live in Kleftiko. Since we want to hike, I ask him if there are poisonous snakes on Milos. He says yes and tells us about the extremely poisonous “red viper”, the “Cyclades” snake. Allegedly, being bitten by one of them will cause death within 20 minutes. And there is no anti-venom. Luckily though, it is a very rare snake and a very reclusive one. Reading about the snake in Wikipedia later in the day makes me a little less fearful and we decide to go hiking, after all.

Happy, the seaman – that is really his name – cooks a delicious meal for lunch. We enjoy spaghetti in tuna sauce, drink cold white wine and enjoy sun, water and wind. Around 18:00, the ship is back in the harbour. We are content, well-fed and a little tired when we exit the ship and go back to the hotel.

The hotel Rigas is directly behind the mining museum. So we visit it on our way back. Milos used to be a mining island. Many metallic ores and minerals, as well as kaolin, were mined here. During the second world-war, it was occupied by the Germans, because there was something precious to take. Visiting the museum was a really good idea. There are some well-made video presentations. They inform us about the hardships people who worked in mining had to endure. And there is also a good exhibition of the minerals they mined and tools they used, etc.

In the ante-room, maps of official hiking paths on Milos are pinned to the wall. Unfortunately, there is not too much left for us to hike, because we are going to Serifos tomorrow afternoon. Now we first want to relax a little bit. We are still well-fed. Later in the evening, hunger returns. We go shopping: tomatoes, onions and a glass of olives. We use the kitchen of our apartment to make a huge tomato salad with oil and vinegar provided by the hotel. On our big patio, we then eat one of the best tomato salads ever. And again, we had a dream day on the Aegean Islands.

Sunday, June, 5th – Next: to Serifos

From Milos, we continue to Serifos. We take the ARTEMIS for the second time. Again, the ticket is only 8 €. She is supposed to depart at 14:05 hours. Seeing the maps in the museum motivated us to do some hiking. There is still plenty of time until 14:00. Consequently, we make good use of the time for walking up to Plaka and “ancient“ Milos. It is a nice path. At noon, we eat in a restaurant up on the hill with a wonderful view. And then we are back at the hotel on time, where we take showers and freshen up. Again our landlord wants to drive us to the harbour. We gladly take him up on the offer.

It is not very far to Serifos. We arrive late in the afternoon. Since we had been so lucky on Milos, we again use for making a reservation. And again, we find a really great hotel. As before, the landlady picks us up. It is a delight to see the sign saying Barbara Dürre as you step down from the ship. We are again welcomed extremely warmly and the understanding between us is instantly great. It is not really far to the hotel, perhaps around 800 metres. Immediately after having unpacked in the hotel, we go swimming – the beach is directly in front of the hotel. It is a wonderful swim. In the evening, we stroll through the harbour. We are looking for a restaurant our son Martin had recommended. Unfortunately, it is closed. We get a recommendation for a “meat restaurant”. We find it – the meal is healthy and tasty. We are now ready for the day ahead.

Monday, June, 6th – Beautiful Serifos.

We sleep in long and start the day leisurely. In the morning, the first thing we do is walk the small tour 1a up to the Chora, which seems to be rather high. It takes us a little more than one hour to get there. First we climb up to the “castel”, then we go back down to Chora. Here, too, there is no “tourist exploitation centre”, just a few small shops and bars. We drink a cup of coffee in one of them and eat some delicious cake. Then we climb back down.

The hike gave us appetite for more. Consequently, we walk another tour in the afternoon. We drive to Kalisto with the “local bus“. Tour number 1 starts there: from Kalisto to Chora. First, it goes uphill on narrow and rather overgrown paths. We remember what Marco told us about the “red viper”. When we arrive on top of the hill, we can see the Chora and, still further down, the harbour. Again, this is a dream. The view is enough reward for the hard work – and it also soothes our fear of the red viper. As we continue on our way, the undergrowth gets less and the feeling of happiness increases. At one time, we actually miss the path; somehow or other, it seems hard to make out. But we went only slightly astray. Again, it is wonderful – we reach the bus in Chora and it takes us back down. We now have quite a few public transportation tickets of Serifos, but, depending on the distance, they all cost between 1.30 € and a little more than 2 €.

There is also some time left for swimming, which we can do directly in front of the hotel. In the evening, we again go where someone recommended us to go and are pampered in a tavern directly on the sea beach.

Tuesday, June, 7th – back to Athens!

We rise early, because the bus leaves for Panagia at 6.30 a.m. We can hike two more routes: route number 4 from Panagia to Glyfada (where they also have the helipad) and, combining with it, number 2 to Chora. And then we take the bus back down to the harbour. After all, we want to be back at the harbour by 15:30 h in order to board the ADAM. KORAIS that will take us back to Piräus. It is the last boat trip of our island hopping. Incidentally, the ticket to Athens is 30.50 € per person.

The hike is another sensational experience. We are back early – it paid to rise early this morning. There is still time for a swim and a late lunch. Again, we eat in last night’s tavern. Then we go back to the harbour. Our landlady would gladly have driven us, but it is so near that this is simply not worth the effort. We arrive at the harbour on time, but the ADAM. KORAIS is rather late.

Consequently, we have to wait quite some time before it comes into view. Now we go to Piräus and the end of the journey is nearing. On arrival in Piräus, we get another Pita on the harbour, then we take the metro for the very few stations to Athens City Centre. The hotel Euripides is very close to the Acropolis – and the way from the metro station to the hotel is not far, either. Due to the delay of the KORAIS, I am late for a hangout that was important for me. At least the most important part is not yet over when I join. Now I am almost back to everyday life.

Wednesday, June, 8th – Flying back to Munich

The day starts with a wonderful breakfast on the 8th floor of the Euripides (65 € for one night including breakfast for two people). Athens and the Acropolis lie at our feet, it is a breath-taking view over the houses of Athens. We see that there is a vista patio with reclining chairs one floor up in the Euripides hotel. We know immediately how to spend the last remaining hours in Athens. First, we log into our computer and check in for the flight back, also printing out our boarding passes. Then we go to the old city of Athens, because we need to know what is generally up. After all, we want to take the metro in order to get to the airport. We discover that there is a metro strike. However, on this day the strike is only between 12:00 and 16:00. This is not a problem for us, because our flight departs as late as 19.15.

So here is what we do: stroll through Athens, drink some coffee, buy a few souvenirs. Afterwards, we find the Euripides patio, lazily lie in our reclining chairs, drink a bottle of beer and look down on the big city. At 16:00 on the dot, the doors of the station Monastiraki, that is the metro station close to the Euripides, open again and we are on our way. It is going to be a nice flight back. Arrival time in Munich is 22:50. We even manage the long way from terminal 3 via terminal 2 to the exit. The S-Bahn train takes us home. This time around, all trains are on time, so the change of train at Munich East went well. We are back in our own kitchen around 23:30. We had twelve wonderful days – and we really and truly enjoyed them. And we decided that there will be another island hopping vacation on the Cyclades next year.

🙂 Fair WLAN everywhere, Always friendly people, excellent food. And the best impressions in the world.

(Translated by EG)

Tuesday November 12th, 2013

Stepping on Virgin Soil.

A friend of mine sent me the following story “from the internet”:

On the planet Virgin Soil, the mainland foundation Transmissio, also known as TCP/IP, surrounded by the ocean communication, has been built. Around this foundation, various islands rise over the water of the communication ocean. The streams and rivers all flow into said communication ocean, which means they are all connected.

Virgin Soil researchers found out that the mainland foundation, along with the islands, has layers which, as time went by, rose higher and higher.

The most important and biggest of those islands are Mailanesia, Usenetasia and Minor-Complaint-City. Apart from those, there is also Efteponia, Telnetia and several others. Almost all the islands are or have been inhabited. As usual, the peoples of Humanum drifted apart over the years and now they speak different languages.

The cultures and behavioural codices of Mailanesia and Usenetania are closely related, so the people living in both islands can mostly understand each other. Whenever they want to talk with someone from the other group, the Mailanesians use SMTP, whereas the Usenetanians use NNTP. Both peoples speak languages which – apart from dialects – are rather similar to the language Mailanesians and Usenetasians use when communicating with each other in their own dwellings.

Some of the Mailanesians live rather lonely lives and have contact with only a few other Mailanesians. They are called “One-to-One-Mailanesians”. Other Mailanesians have contact with many of their fellow citizens, which gives them the title “One-to-Many” or “Listo-Mailanesians”. Consequently, the rules the Mailanesians gave themselves outside the SMTP culture are rather few and far between. The One-to-One Mailanesians decide among themselves, the Listo Mailanesians mostly leave it to a higher authority to come up with rules or to occasionally remind them of rules that had been agreed upon.

With the Usenetanians, it is different. For them, the public system and protection against alien intrusion is important. So their culture, called “NNTP”, created many places with identical design, which guarantees that an error at one place will not cause the entire public system to collapse. Instead, it can always switch to other places. For the Usenetanians, it is important that their culture and their many locations are not owned by anybody and that any person at all can join at any time. In order to be able to understand each other and exchange ideas, they made rules which make it possible for everybody to reach each of their locations and to be a free citizen with equal rights of their island.

However, we must admit that the population of Usenetania has now suffered from a dramatic demographic change for some time. This is not true to the same extent for some individual, remote Usenetanians who settled on small islands and, although still nurturing the NNT culture, no longer have any connection with the proper Usenetarians.

Minor-Complaint-City is an island the landscape of which is far more broken than that of the others. There are numerous layers and summits, all of which, of course, are based on the same series of layers as the other islands. However, the higher you climb, the more the structure will differ – and on the top layers of the mountains, the differences are rather significant. The Minor-Complaint-City culture is called HTTP. It is a place where they like it sharp and colourful. There are uncountable places and locations, but the public system and reachability is not as much of an issue as in Usenetania.

Every clan has its own place and its own special niche and an outsider will not find it easy to find it. This is how, in Minor-Complaint.-City, many dialects developed and nowhere near every inhabitant can start contacting any other inhabitant of his liking. Besides, the inhabitants of Minor-Complaint-City are not very interested in questions of ownership on their island, which means that they do not come up with so many prevention regulations concerning the closure of places or the restriction of their freedom. For them, the meaning of the word “freedom” tends towards being permitted to camouflage their own identities. In fact, the latest fashion is the “digital Burka” – which they call “locking mechanism”, because they found out that they are spied upon by unwelcome guests who never asked permission. Incidentally, they share this experience – along with the annoyance about it – with the Mailanesians.

Another characteristic of the people living in Minor-Complaint-City is that many of them believe they are the only inhabitants of Humanum and there are no other islands on the planet. In fact, some inhabitants of Minor-Complaint-City actually never leave their mountain. They expect others who have a question to come and climb their mountain. After having made this special effort – for which, more often than not, you need special equipment – you will find them a fairly friendly people. Provided the guest takes pains to speak in their dialect and does not belong to the aforementioned “unwelcome guests”.

So much on this. In my opinion, it is rather nice and you might find it easy to continue in the same manner. I looked for the source and found out that it is by Sabine Baer <> in the Newsgroups: The subject is “Post Card from Virgin Soil”.

(Translated by EG)