Roland Dürre
Wednesday November 1st, 2017

About Authenticity and Identity in a Real and Virtual World.

 

A Tightrope Walk

 

Stone mask from the pre-ceramic New Stone Age around 7,000 before Christ. One of the world’s oldest masks (Musée Bible et Terre Sainte, Paris)

In this article, I formulate ideas I got during my current work on “block-chain technologies” in general and “crypto currencies” like Bitcoin in particular. Actually, my own ideas rather surprised me. Because many things that had not been clear to me before have become clear during the process.

Let me start with terminology: WORLD, REAL and VIRTUAL.

For me the WORLD is all that is around me – humans, social systems, … My dealings with the WORLD are through interactions and transactions. My activities not only touch me, but also instances from WORLD. On the other hand, events from WORLD also concern and touch me.

For me, the REAL world is always what I can see, touch, feel, experience. Or what I can eat. The same is true for the firewood I feed into my oven in order to get a cosy warmth in the room. The warmth from the central heating was also REAL for me. After all, I know its origin, which is either from the outside as long-distance heating or from my basement. Even money was REAL for me – but is that true?

I would say that everything I could picture myself was the REAL world for me. But newspapers were also REAL for me, and the same was true for telephone conversations. Even watching TV was part of the REAL world for me. Is that still the case?

The VIRTUAL world included what was “socially” offered, along with the products of the digital WORLD, the creation of which I myself took part in. There is no need to go as far as a mental concept of “second life“ or similar things. My first VIRTUAL worlds were forums and chat rooms where diverse, often technological, topics were discussed.

Today, social media, such as twitter, facebook and many more, could do that job. Or is all of this also REAL?

Let us now consider the terms AUTHENTICITY and IDENTITY. The first thing I learned here was how careless I (and our entire society) treat the term IDENTITY. I used to believe that the identity of a person is a singular thing. At least as far as the VIRTUAL world is concerned, this is nonsense. Because (so far) you have anonymity in the virtual world.

Anonymity means that 
a person or a group cannot be identified. If you want more or less the same meaning as anonymous, you can also say incognito. You will also find unknown, camouflaged and nameless (Wikipedia 10/2017).

Consequently, a person who wants to hang around in the internet “anonymously” (for instance as a bitcoin owner in the respective money community) needs more than one identity! He will need more or less one for every purpose. There is always only one person behind all these identities. It is one unique and undoubted existence. But none of the identities will lead to it. So there are singular images of the “authentic person” leading to diverse identities, but no way back – i.e. it is impossible to find the person behind the scene through the identity. I find that rather exciting!

For me, authentity is something like an exceptional form of identity, i.e., the unique and true “original identity” that is hidden behind several identities. Incidentally, I cannot find the term AUTHENTITY in Wikipedia, but I can find Authenticity. Since it is so important for the topic I discuss, let me cite it:
Authenticity (from gr. αὐθεντικός authentikós “true“; spätlateinisch authenticus “reliable”) concerns the truthfulness of origins, attributes, commitments, sincerity, devotion, and intentions. (Wikipedia 10/2017).

Consequently, I would say that identities are nothing but anonymous alias instances for one singular authentic instance that I would call authentity. In the VIRTUAL world, they are just masks or Avatars . The owner of the mask/avatar remains anonymous and you cannot find out who he/she is, yet he “automatically” (guaranteed through technology and algorithm) has ownership of everything that belongs to his mask/avatar as part of the “community”.

For a Bitcoin, you would have the following scenario: all bitcoin owners are part of a special community of identities, all of which are anonymous. The surprising thing about it is: it works (or is supposed to work) through “peer2peer” interaction. So you have no central instance!

However, the used (necessary?) technology costs a lot, which means this currency is rather impractical as a means of payment. Which means that bitcoin will only be used for speculation (betting). On the other hand, what is special about that? After all, more than 90 % (99 %?) of all currency business, such as the exchange between EURO (€) and DOLLAR ($) and vice versa, are only made for reasons of speculation. They have nothing to do with the exchange of goods! Maybe normal money is also a VIRTUAL commodity today?

Back to the topic: I used to believe that my IDENTITY is actually my AUTHENTITY. But now I know better. The opposite is true: in the internet, I hide my AUTHENTITY behind various IDENTITIES. And no way must lead from them to my AUTHENTITY.

The AUTHENTITY is as unique as my DNA. It would be a good “key” (as a biometrical data set), since the probability of two identical DNA’s is practically zero (due to the quasi endless quality of DNA-s.).

So far, for instance, I still have to fill in the registration form at all hotels, i.e., I must give my surname, first name, place of birth, nationality, home address and passport number. As an entity, these data make me uniquely identifiable. I testify to their truthfulness by showing my passport and giving my signature. …
🙂 The hotel, too, has an address, although it would probably be more precise (and easier?) to just take the GPS coordinates.

But let us go step by step and start with the REAL world: the first thing I did was look for “truly anonymous identities” in the REAL world.

Here are the examples I found:

  • Numbered account: 
Formerly, and especially in Switzerland, it was possible to open an anonymous bank account. The account only had a number, but the bank did not know who owned the account (and the money deposited on it). Legitimation happened by giving a number (cipher). And everyone who visited the bank branch and had the account number and cipher could (anonymously) draw money from the account. It worked quite well for many decades.
  • Classified advertisements
    Formerly, you could publish classified ads, for instance personal ads, anonymously in daily papers. You had a cipher and said cypher was assigned to a key. With this key, the incoming replies were correlated with the advertisements (through the cipher).
    🙂 I remember how, at school in the 1960ies, we (especially the girls) were warned against marriage frauds that took advantage of this anonymity …
  • Car number plates, telephone numbers … 
If you think of traffic, car number plates come to mind. They, too, used to be anonymous – although there was a central agency (some kind of “man-in-the-middle“) who knew who was hidden behind the number plate. Today, only number plates for cars driven by federal security agencies and similar institutions are anonymous – even the police has no way of getting hold of them. The same used to be true for telephone numbers. Of course, the postal service, as “man-in-the-middle” knew who was hidden behind the telephone number. But if you had a good reason, you were not listed in the telephone book and could basically only be traced by being called.
  • Prepaid and Email 
In the REAL world, you could remain anonymous thanks to prepaid cards. And you could also open an email account without giving any personal information. But is that the definition of the VIRTUAL world? As I see it, there is currently a huge process of change, at least in Germany. These things can be done less and less easily. 
They want the darknet in the VIRTUAL world (?) to make less and less accessible. But that is not something I personally know. I would have to investigate in order to find out more.

So:
Currently, I cannot think of any existing anonymities established through identities in the REAL world. On the contrary: in my perception, ANONYMITY is not desired in the REAL world – and consequently it has been/is being more or less totally abolished by the legislators and the administration.

But then, is not the VIRTUAL world part of the REAL world? And isn’t the VIRTUAL world rather schizophrenic? On the one hand, everyone dreams of “anonymous currencies and communities” and on the other hand they do everything to abolish anonymity!

For instance, the postal service advertises its POSTIDENT-service, which, basically, has one goal: to abolish anonymity in the VIRTUAL world, as well.


Close to the customer – tailor-made identity management!

Here is the individual legitimation check for your customers – now online!
The Deutsche Post offers the tailor made identification concept for your business model. With our online and offline POSTIDENT method for legitimacy control, we identify your customers quickly, securely and without violating the statutes Geldwäschegesetz and Datenschutz (postal advertising).


Isn’t that hot stuff? Note that they use words such as – identity concept and legitimacy control.

But regardless, the service – which is definitely questionable and easy to abuse – is used by many internet providers who want to know who they are really dealing with.

For me, the following questions arise:

Isn’t it paradox if anonymity is completely abolished in the REAL world but can flourish in the VIRTUAL world? Regardless of the fact that the VIRTUAL world is basically part of the REAL world?

What if technological leaders like CHINA abolish anonymity? Would not the consequence be that, through the technology we import from them, we automatically forfeit our anonymity?

What sense does it make if the functionality of the “good old Swiss numbered account” is again realized through anonymous crypto currencies? Do we even want that to happen? Or isn’t it just a question of time before, for instance, the bank secret, too, will soon no longer be socially trendy?

Is it not so that the entire affair is just a special tool for speculation – just like “betting in the internet” becomes more and more popular and is already a massive business as far as turnover and profit are concerned?

As I see it, these issues should be discussed in the context of social ethics. But what do we do? We establish an ethics commission that deals with artificial intelligence and driverless cars. Yet we do not discuss the important question whether or not we should leave certain parts of society anonymous. We make noises about absurd data protection laws and get enthusiastic about it, although we know full well that it will not work in the way it was demanded, and in doing so, we get lost in a network of rules and laws that paralyze us and from which there will probably eventually be no rescue.

Incidentally, the solution to this problem is rather simple in my concept:
As soon as we have a (world-wide) guaranteed rule of law, anonymity is no longer needed. That is also true for an anonymous currency.

If and as long as, however, the rule of law is threatened or non-existent, we are well advised to keep “anonymous areas”.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
Now I hope what I said is more or less understandable. I would not wish to have confused you with AUTHENTITY and IDENTITY. And as a post scriptum, here is another story:
In my carelessness, it happened that my purse was stolen from me early this spring in Athens when I was riding an underground train. It contained EVERYTHING. Consequently, I also had to apply for a new passport. They asked me if I wanted it with my digital signature. It is free whenever you apply for a new passport, whereas, if you want it later, you need to pay 20 € extra.
Naturally, I asked what advantages this digital signature would have for me. My advisor at the municipality was unable to come up with very much – except a strange professional register the purpose of which remained unclear to me.
So I asked him if the signature would at least be an option for the electronic tax declaration (Elster). When he said no, I declined – perhaps out of defiance – and I believe this decision will not be detrimental.

Roland Dürre
Tuesday May 10th, 2016

Future, Evolution, Transformation & Digital!

One week ago on Saturday evening, we started on our way to Italy, leaving the train on the next morning in Orvieto. It took us three days to get to the congress venue at Castel Gandolfo by bike. Riding our bikes to the Albanian Ocean in the south-west of Rome was a great preparation for the international
“10th NETWORK MEETING OF THE PETER PRIBILLA FOUNDATION (MAY, 4th – MAY, 6th 2016, ROME)” I was lucky enough to be part of.

The workshop was intense and challenging. Consequently, we spent the day afterwards being truly at leisure and indulging in luxury in Labico. Subsequently, we rode our bikes through Italy for three days. The first leg was from Labico to Terracina (around 80 km). Then we continued to Nettuno (about 75 km). From there, only about 50 kilometres were left to ride to Ostia, which meant that we arrived there early in the afternoon and had plenty of time to see the ancient Ostia by bike and generally enjoy Ostia.

During the three days riding through the provinces of Roma and Latina during the wonderful Italian early summer, I had a lot of time for contemplation. It was a truly special meeting.

Tomorrow, our voyage will be at its end. We are going to Rome. There, the night train that is supposed to take us back to Munich by Thursday morning is already waiting for us. Let me write down a few memories of today’s meeting.

Lido di Ostia, von der zentralen Seebrücke aus bewundert und fotografiert.

Lido di Ostia, picture taken and scenery admired from the central ocean bridge :-).

The meeting was sponsored by the “Pribilla-Foundation“ and about “Digital Transformation“: After all, this is a transformation that concerns all of us ever more, making us aware of change that is happening and growing at rapid speed.

The workshop was opened with an impulse presentation by Manfred Broy, who is the director of the Bavarian Digital Centre (Digitales Zentrum.Bayern). He gave a precise “sweeping swipe” on “digitalization”. Based on exciting facts, he pointed out to us what is currently happening. I was allowed to give one of the three (3-minute) short responses to the presentation. Here is a short version of what I said (with a few additions, because three minutes is actually quite a short time):

“The digital transformation will probably have a massive influence on the evolution and our future. It might even help on the way towards finding the necessary great transformation humanity needs badly.”

I came up with a theory on all the terms marked in this sentence – that is: I formulated my “basic beliefs”. Here they are:

  • Future
    As I see it, the future cannot be predicted!
    That is also the first theory formulated by the great and unfortunately already dead management scientist Hans Ulrich from St. Gallen who revolutionized the theory of management in the 1980ies with his essay “Eight Theories on Change in Management”..
    It may well be possible to predict the future correctly once in a wile if you use the tools of science and your common sense. That is: you might receive a “message from the future”. Yet you will never manage to correctly interpret said message.
    To me, the future of humanity can be described using the metaphor of a boat on a river. The river is in the “white area”. The boat moves down the river.
    You can measure the speed at which the river flows and also, for instance, the stream gradient and other data. But still, all those data will only give you limited information on what is going to happen. Using a spy glass to look into the distance will also only be of little help. It is not predictable how the river will continue on its way (will it become broader or will it find its way through a narrow gorge and become a torrential river, will there be a bend or a waterfall or will it suddenly disappear totally underground?).
    And in this metaphor, we do not even know if humanity is the boat or the river (or maybe just a swarm of fish?).
  • Evolution
    Evolution is useless. Perhaps it tries to make sure there will always be life, but we do not know why and for what purpose.
    As I see it, evolution cannot be controlled – just like the future is not predictable. Basically, we cannot install a “steering committee” and tell them ”Please control evolution!”. It simply will not work (just like, incidentally, it does not work with huge enterprises and social systems).
  • Transformation
    I think in a next step, evolution will have to and will undergo another huge transformation. This is necessary if humanity wants to survive. It will come, disregarding the question of whether humanity will continue to live or not. We know nothing about this transformation, except that it will bring basic change and come as a huge surprise. The time for this transformation is ever nearer. It will probably happen within the next few generations.
  • Digital Transformation
    It would be nice if digital transformation could become a positive driver for this great transformation. I see quite a good chance. Even now, the world changes through digitalization – and in my opinion said change is for the better.
    The friendly persons build networks, the combination of digital + social makes it possible to cooperate constructively in a way that was hardly possible in former times. Thanks to the “digital” world, something like “enlightenment 2.0” develops. To me, this looks to be more important than the “buzzword” of “industry 4.0” which, after all, is only “normal” technological progress.

What remains is the question: how can we contribute towards digitalization changing the world in a positive way?

Of course, I do not know the answer. It is my belief that we should not talk too much but instead act. Every one of us should act in his own specific way, following his personal inclination. And we all should do it together and connect with all the ”friendly persons” in our society – for instance those persons I actually met in huge numbers at the nice meeting in wonderful surroundings!

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
During the meeting, I mentioned a book that might actually help you a little to understand how totally different even our “small” children think – and how helpless the ancient concepts of thinking and teaching and education have become.
(Re-Invent Yourself! A Declaration of Love for the Network Generation by Michel Serres).

Roland Dürre
Tuesday November 24th, 2015

World-War III

Flag the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant

Flag of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant

There is a lot one could say about terrorism. But in my personal opinion, people mostly write the wrong kinds of things. For instance, much of what I heard and read in connection with the Paris assaults is incomprehensible to me. Many things annoy me, because they seem so flat and un-thought-through.

Also, I am not happy with the reaction to and the treatment of the events and the current situation by our “elite”.

I find it sad that the reasons for this development are forgotten and not asked about either. After all, we have had a strongly developed colonial situation in this world for centuries. The rich countries rule over the poor countries, they exploit and literally abuse them.

Starting during the “long 19th century”, continuing in modern times and still being the state of affairs today, this never changed. The so-called independence of the suppressed did not really improve matters significantly. True, in the 21st century, the methods perhaps look a little more subtle than they were in the 19th and 20th centuries. But this only means they are no longer as obvious as they used to be. However, they lost nothing in efficiency when it comes to the degree of exploitation. On the contrary.

This caused a lot of explosive energy in the world. The politics of the last few decades – incidentally, I am not only talking the West, neither only the USA – served to enrich said explosive energy with fire accelerators. And the time when everything was set on fire with matches was certainly no later than the reaction of the “western world” to 9/11.

But what are the French doing now? Making the same mistakes the West has been making all the time. They throw their bombs with gusto. And probably they will also (and maybe even primarily) bomb civil buildings and hospitals. And consequently also children, women and innocent citizens. As this is always the case with these kinds of attacks. This is how you give extra air to the fire and guarantee new recruits for terrorists.

I also find it annoying to see how different standards are used. Not long before the Paris assaults, the IS bombarded a Russian airplane. More than 200 persons died. Yet, the human fatalities in the Russian airplane were treated with quite a bit of serenity. Where were the shock and the minutes of mourning – and the Russian flags in Europe? To be perfectly honest, until then I had not even known Russia’s colours. After all, I grew up west of the Iron Curtain.

Other attacks, for instance in Beirut, are not even noticed. Because the only reason why we would be interested in those is our yearning for sensational news and catastrophe.

But the attacks in France were totally different. Why? There were huge numbers of solidarity addresses. Silent minutes of mourning were happening all over the place, the avatars on the internet were illustrated in the French colours. Because we are afraid that the same could happen in Berlin or in Munich?

Even as early as on the morning after the attacks, the newspapers boosted it. They talked about World-War-III now being on our doorsteps. When I went to the bakery on Saturday morning, I read a number of these headlines. And the day before yesterday, I read that “the world is now uniting against terrorist“ (SZ of November, 22nd).

In my life, there were many people I knew well and liked who died. Some died of old age and illness. Others remained in the Alps, one never returned from a flight trip.

Ever since my childhood, however, people dying on the streets keep accumulating. They were the largest number and losing some of them really moved me deeply. For instance, I remember a young woman full of life who had spent a very short time at InterFace Computer. No longer than one week into her employment with us, her workplace remained empty on a Monday morning. She had spent the weekend in her home in the Saarland and on the way back, she had suffered a car breakdown. When she exited her car, she was simply overrun on the motorway exit. Just like this. Like an animal.

Are traffic fatalities less painful than war fatalities? Isn’t it strange how we forget traffic fatalities? Why don’t we mourn for the deaths in traffic on a daily basis?

You certainly cannot calculate or balance the pain you feel when a person close to you dies. But I do not think there is such a huge difference between a beloved member of the family being overrun on his way home and the same person being killed in a terrorist attack in a coffee bar.

Consequently, I feel that, indeed, we do have a “World War III“. In fact, we have been having it for many decades. All traffic areas are the current battlefields. Because on the streets of this planet, between 1.3 and 1.4 million people die every year. They come from all social classes and nations. In addition, we have many times as many seriously wounded and wounded. Now if that is not a war, then what is?

In Germany, we still have more than 3,000 traffic fatalities every year. When I was young, there were some years when we had more than 20,000 – in West Germany alone. That means that we in Germany actually made some progress in this war. But we are still far from peace. 3,000, too, are too many. And the number is now again increasing.

If you want to understand what a huge number this is, just go and watch a soccer game with 3,000 spectators. And then imagine all of them lying dead in cars on the streets!

It is quite likely that, in Europe, both fans and players die on the way to the soccer match on each soccer weekend. But who is interested? A few weeks ago, there was at least a minute of mourning at the Augsburg WWK Arena for those FCA fans who had been injured in a car accident on their way to the stadium.

But why do we not have a minute of mourning for our traffic fatalities and those world-wide? Because nobody is interested in the carnage on the streets. And because business has priority. Which, incidentally, is also true for terrorism.

Consequently, there is no international outcry and no important speeches are made by politicians for a more humane traffic. As opposed to the fight against terror, “no world is now uniting” against all the people who died in traffic accidents. And the national governments could not care less, which is totally incomprehensible to me.

There is one exception: the small country Sweden actually takes it seriously and started a Vision Zero, with which they want to definitely reduce the number of traffic fatalities to zero – I bow before them!

The IS, on the other hand, consists of madmen who want to conquer first the Near East and then the world. They built up a terror regime that reminds me of the Nazis. However, regardless of them currently probably being the strongest terror formation, they are quite weak. It would be quite easy to dry them up.

But what do we do?

We buy their crude oil. Because it is less expensive. Thus, every filling of our cars metaphorically contains some IS fuel. They also get their weapons and equipment from us. This is how we get our “oil money” back. And we also provide those criminals with recruits from all over the world. Isn’t that a scandal?

But we block the realistically existing third World War out and also trivialize the climate change. Which actually might easily trigger the fourth World War!

As I see it, there are good reasons to believe the scientists. Especially if varieties of disciplines and schools come up with identical results. It looks like the detrimental effects caused by the climate change will be even more fundamental than the perhaps 75 million traffic fatalities since the end of WW-II.

The resulting environment war would probably be WW-IV. It will probably bring deprivation on two levels. The sacrifices nature demands from us through ever increasing numbers of catastrophes on various levels. And the others, those who will fall in the war between the “early losers” and the “not yet losers”.

And, of course, yet again we hope that we will not be among “early losers“. After all, we are luckily living in a rather “fortunate climate zone”. Now isn’t that rather reproachable? And are you sure that this is not perhaps a misconception?
Yet here, too, there is no chance for shared programs and mutual agreements. Nowhere. Neither nationwide, nor world-wide. Mind you, the environment conference starting in Paris in a few weeks is probably the very last chance to avoid the worst case scenario.

But we ignore the really existing third world-war on our streets as we also ignore the threatening fourth world-war caused by the climate change. To make up for it, we wet our pants with fear of terrorism from an IS that, basically, is actually quite ridiculous. Instead of simply drying them up and dealing with the really important issues.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

P.S.
I took the picture of the flag from Wikipedia. It is black, the colour of death. The picture was entered on October, 15, 2006 and downloaded by Russavia.
As I see it, we should beware of black flags. Incidentally, I do not like any kinds of flags. But if you absolutely insist on a flag, then I would prefer the lively, multi-coloured ones!

Werner Lorbeer
Saturday August 1st, 2015

Energy Transition is Germany’s Hobbyhorse

FAZ Kohle beliebt_2015-08-01_0001Well, I admit the headline is a little polemic. I also admit that it is high time for us to “start”. In my definition, however, it involves more than just enjoying windmills and photovoltaic modules or swarm power stations.

Taking your pencil and doing the calculations with the unobtrusive FAZ article of July, 30th, will show you that the renewable energy production in Germany amounts to less, 00002 % (2 times 10 to the power of -5 per cent) of the world-wide coal-based energy consumption.

Compared to the global energy level, our energy transition is a technological children’s playground, some kind of lucrative hobbyhorse the progress of which is far too slow and that is far too expensive for broader use.

India, China, Africa, America, Australia will not forgo their rights to use coal. It depends fundamentally on implementing processes of civilization and technology in order to separate the standard of living from the carbon dioxide output. What we need globally is an economical, cost-efficient solution. Because the very bad news was written in the same FAZ issue:

FAZ Weltbevölkerung_2015-08-01_0002The world population continues to grow – and faster than we had anticipated.

Personal Opinion:
Once again, it will pay to think about the relation between investments and carbon-dioxide reduction. There is no doubt that there are better processes with respect to the carbon dioxide efficiency quotient than the ways favoured by us through the EEG. Just remember the filters for dust, NOx, SOx and also CO2? Quick, efficient, cheap! Or the possible green-linking of CO2 through suitable agricultural and forestry-related measures – which would at the same time be beneficial for Africa and South America.

Personally, I would rather pay an EEG extra fee that finally ends the abuse of our atmosphere as the rubbish heap of human civilization and that is internationally available as a development aid than continue to feed German wind and solar barons.

wl
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Thursday March 20th, 2014

So Where is the Turnaround ?

I received a facebook comment by Joerg Rothermel on my article “Ach wie sind wir toll …” :

Well, you know – if I compare D with AUS, then it turns out that (almost) all the politicians in D are more competent, the infra-structure in D is better by far and women in D have better chances. If it were not for having the world’s richest resources in raw materials, AUS would be as much indebted as – well, let us say: – Greece :-((

Here is my reply:

Roland Dürre: My dear Jörg, I totally agree with you: in Germany, the situation is probably a lot better than in most other countries. In fact, I am sure that in many countries the situation is fundamentally worse than in Germany. However, if I then remember that we all basically live “in one world”, a world which is globally very connected, then it gives even me pause.

That is exactly the problem: Germany and most of us are almost dangerously well off. And still we lament.

This is really sad. But we also see negative social signals, such as the increasing polarization between “poor” and “rich”. If we follow rational insights, then our prognosis will quickly look bleak even for us. If then the now global world, at least at first sight, shows us still so much more misery and you hardly find anything “better”, then this is a weak consolation, isn’t it? Viewed rationally and critically, the following image fits our situation:

We are driving through a cul-de-sac at extremely high speed. And we continue to accelerate. Yet we do not know when we will end up driving into the wall at the end of the street.

Consequently, it seems to me that what we need is a turnaround. In order to do so, we need social consensus and, above all, individual behavioural change. And, in fact, I actually believe that we here in Germany are better equipped for a turnaround than many other nations or countries. And also that more and more people in our country start understanding it and are prepared to change their behaviour. So my stupid question is only:

Where is the turnaround? Why do only so few people change their behavioural patterns? Especially in our region. And what help are politics?

After all, first and foremost, you have to “get your own house clean”. Rather than being happy if you discover that there are some places where matters are even worse.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Sunday March 9th, 2014

Crimea, Crisis, Crass

If someone had asked me a short time ago what country the Crimea belongs to, I would have replied “Russia”. Now we have a “Crimea Crisis” and I learned that the Crimea actually “belongs to” the Ukraine. And every day, the Crimea Crisis is in the news, for instance on Spiegel-OnlineScenarios for the Crimea: Sanctioning, Chaos, War.

To me, the entire situation seems absurd. Basically, the Ukraine is bankrupt. Incidentally, the same is true for many other countries, as well. It is governed by bandits who added to the misery by some plundering of their own. This is also something we know from other countries. Then the country is ceded by its rich neighbour and former ally. Like other countries. And, of course, being poor, they fall victim to the temptations of the rich West.

The people are impoverished and fed up with the situation. As are many other people in other countries. We have uprisings and other strange things happening. Among others, a “German Boxing World Champion” intervenes. Old bandits appear on the scene. And, of course – like many other nations – the Ukraine also has a problem with being a multi-ethnic country with different majorities in different regions, as well as a few minorities.

What usually happens also happens here: the old, perhaps not very legitimate boss, although he has been elected, is displaced. There is a new boss (who was not directly elected). And in his first speech, he underlines the “inviolability of territorial integrity”. And he also has rather dubious supporters.

And then there is sanctioning and big crisis debates. The entire world is getting involved. Politicians make themselves important, talking sanctioning. And in the end, there will be a new order in this region as well – no matter what.

Simultaneously, they celebrate the “Olympic Games of the Handicapped”, an afterbirth of the Olympic Games that were useless, anyway: since all they did was serve the dictator and the western entertainment concerns.

Is not all of this stupid?

Was Yugoslavia not also divided? Czechoslovakia is now two countries. A short time ago, the “Germen entrepreneurs in Catalonia warned against the dire consequences of an independence of the Spanish region”? And in Italy, we also have “Liga Nord”! Does it really make such a huge difference for the world if the Crimea is Russian or Ukrainian? Will there not be many new orientations of nations and territorial borders all over the world in the near future? Isn’t it unavoidable, because the old suits just no longer fit?

The EU protects its borders against the evil economic refugees from Africa through the “border protection agency” Frontex (see my article  of January, 24th, 2010). It is doing so with an army that will shortly be massively upgraded – and it all happens without any parliamentary control.

But strangely enough now the EU wants to help the Ukraine to the tune of 11 billion Euros. Is that in order to make it easier for the Ukraine to pay its even greater debt to Russia? And then they will owe new debts to the EU.

However, the concept “paying off debts” will not be possible. After all, as opposed to us, the Ukraine got their gas with a friendship discount of 30%. Now the Russians have stopped this subsidy. And the Ukraine needs plenty of gas…

Which, incidentally, is also true for the FRG.

RMD
(Translated by EG)

Roland Dürre
Monday October 28th, 2013

INDIA – welcome in Mumbai

Safe Arrival – the First Two Pictures and a Little Anecdote

Now I have spent my first night in India. On this picture, you see the view from the balcony of my bedroom. It is on the 29th floor of a building full of luxury flats with many more floors.

India2Note the obligatory racetrack.

India1

The construction site on the right is not the only source of tremendous noise. There is one thing I already know after the first night: it is rather loud in Mumbai.

Trains rumble, streets buzz, you can hardly hear the planes…

I should have provided an audio file and included the noise level.

The building I will be staying in for a few nights now and from where I took the photos is not on the picture. Even though it is only two years old, it is already rather in disrepair. I will be glad if it does not collapse before I leave in a few days…
And here is a little episode:

At the airport, a huge Toyota cross-country picks me up. On the car dashboard, a statue of St. Mary is sitting next to the “Elephant God”. I ask the driver if he is a Christian. After all, I know Indian people in Munich who were brought up Christian in India. In a very special way.

The answer is simple: the “Gods” on the dashboard are the usual extra provided by the car dealers. And since the vehicle has an Indian driver but is meant to pick up “German Experts” in particular, there is also a statue of St. Mary. Quasi as multi-cultural bonus.

This reminds me of the 1960ies and 1970ies in Germany. In those days, the Stadtbergen VW dealer also supplied a St-Christopher badge for every car. And on one Sunday of the year, you could have the vehicle baptized by the priest.

Apropos vehicles. The much-loved TWS (three wheel scooter) vehicles I know so well from New-Delhi  were also something I saw crawl all over the place like mosquitoes as we came in from the airport. In the south of Mumbai, however, they are not permitted.

But now let us face new adventures!

RMD
(Translated by EG)