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I Still Remember Scenes Of Horror From The World War II

On August 10 2017, I spent a nice week at Steiermark (Styria) in Sternhof (Star Court), among the apple trees, green corn fields, purple flowers, small ponds, long grass disappearing among them, deer, rabbits, birds and wild animals whose heads can be seen looking carefully around to feel safe. I watched the beautiful butterflies dance and fly from flower to another in attractive dances similar to ballet. I saw the farmers riding tractors and plowing the fields in romantic rounds. At night the sky was pretty clear and scattered with bright stars. The aromas of the countryside, scented with manure, were scattered with the airy breeze that reminded me of my presence in the beautiful countryside.

In this beautiful atmosphere, I met and interviewed Erika Swoboda, who in the age of 80 still enjoys the vitality and agility as if she were in her fourth decade. In the morning she practices yoga while listening to faint music and news, and beside her sit two cats watching the sport in great fun, a black cat, colored with little white, and a brown cat.

The story of Erika Swoboda could be simply described as a story of the queen of Austria who did not put a crown on her head inlaid with diamonds, but placed a crown of flowers and sat on the throne of nature in the Austrian province of Steiermark.

In August 1974 Swoboda had abandoned the city life of Vienna and the awful memories of the second world war she witnessed in her childhood in Vienna in search of tranquility between the embracing arms of nature. She began her life and career when pregnant with her daughter Anna together with her young husband Gerhard Swoboda, an actor for theater and television.

But the beautiful nature and continued success of the work did not make Swoboda forget the memories of World War II she experienced in her childhood:

She said: “the worst event was as a bomb hitting next door, and the people who lived there broke from their basement through to ours and fled to our basement full of fear. I can still remember these terrible, frightened faces full of dust! The people who had stayed next door in their flats above had all been buried and died.”

Swoboda often saw the bombs falling near her on her way to the school: She said: “Certainly I often was on the way to school and it happened to be air alert and bombs have been dropped. And for this case i was charged to immediately hide myself under a front door to be safe. And so I was standing there all alone as the bombs fell down and this certainly was a terrible time for me.”

But the tragedies of the Second World War experienced by Swoboda did not affect her love for nature, and the hug wild mulberry tree and jasmine that grows in the yard of the house has a significant positive impact her life, says  Swoboda: “I believe that in this early period of time, in which I was enveloped by fragrance, fruit and leaf, a natural imprint has emerged, to which I owe my present attraction to herbs, roots, and flowers.”

She added: “Only a few years ago I took the scent of childhood back. In front of my house in Styria there are jasmine and sword lilies, and when I look out the window I see a mulberry tree, still small, but at least there are already fruits.”

Despite the relocation of Swoboda to live in Steirmark’s beautiful nature, her memories and relationship in Vienna where she was born and grew up is still close, says Swoboda: “In the Viennese scene, I was at home between Hawelka and Vanilla, befriended by many painters, writers and filmmakers, until the storm of time drove me into one of the then existing land communes.”

She added: “My vision was to live and work with people in a community. This started in Vienna, where I was in several municipalities and ends up to this day at Sternhof, a 250-year-old farmhouse in the middle of South Styria, where I am living since 43 years.”

Continue reading: I Still Remember Scenes Of Horror From The World War II

29.5 million people globally suffer from drug use disorders.

In 2015 about a quarter of a billion people used drugs. Of these, around 29.5 million people – or 0.6 per cent of the global adult population – were engaged in problematic use and suffered from drug use disorders, including dependence. Opioids were the most harmful drug type and accounted for 70 per cent of the negative health impact associated with drug use disorders worldwide, according to the latest World Drug Report, released today by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC).

Disorders related to the use of amphetamines also account for a considerable share of the global burden of disease. And while the market for new psychoactive substances (NPS) is still relatively small, users are unaware of the content and dosage of psychoactive substances in some NPS. This potentially exposes users to additional serious health risks.

The Report finds that hepatitis C is causing the greatest harm among the estimated 12 million people who inject drugs worldwide. Out of this number, one in eight (1.6 million) is living with HIV and more than half (6.1 million) are living with hepatitis C, while around 1.3 million are suffering from both hepatitis C and HIV. Overall, three times more people who use drugs die from hepatitis C (222,000) than from HIV (60,000). However, the Report stresses that despite recent advances in the treatment of hepatitis C, access remains poor, as treatment remains very expensive in most countries.

This year marks 20 years of the World Drug Report, which comes at a time when the international community has decided to move forward with joint action. UNODC Executive Director Yury Fedotov highlighted that the outcome document of the 2016 landmark UN General Assembly special session on the world drug problem contains more than 100 concrete recommendations to reduce demand and supply, however he acknowledged that more needed to be done.

Continue reading: 29.5 million people globally suffer from drug use disorders.

Military Spending Increased in the US and EU decreased in oil-exporting countries

Total world military expenditure rose to $1686 billion in 2016, an increase of 0.4 per cent in real terms from 2015, according to new figures from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). Military spending in North America saw its first annual increase since 2010, while spending in Western Europe grew for the second consecutive year.

World military expenditure rose for a second consecutive year to a total of $1686 billion in 2016—the first consecutive annual increase since 2011 when spending reached its peak of $1699 billion.* Trends and patterns in military expenditure vary considerably between regions. Spending continued to grow in Asia and Oceania, Central and Eastern Europe and North Africa. By contrast, spending fell in Central America and the Caribbean, the Middle East (based on countries for which data is available), South America and sub-Saharan Africa.

The USA’s spending returns to growth; Saudi Arabia’s spending falls significantly

The United States remains the country with the highest annual military expenditure in the world. US military spending grew by 1.7 per cent between 2015 and 2016 to $611 billion. Military expenditure by China, which was the second largest spender in 2016, increased by 5.4 per cent to $215 billion, a much lower rate of growth than in previous years. Russia increased its spending by 5.9 per cent in 2016 to $69.2 billion, making it the third largest spender. Saudi Arabia was the third largest spender in 2015 but dropped to fourth position in 2016. Spending by Saudi Arabia fell by 30 per cent in 2016 to $63.7 billion, despite its continued involvement in regional wars. India’s military expenditure grew by 8.5 per cent in 2016 to $55.9 billion, making it the fifth largest spender.

The growth in US military expenditure in 2016 may signal the end of a trend of decreases in spending, which resulted from the economic crisis and the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and Iraq. US spending in 2016 remained 20 per cent lower than its peak in 2010. ‘Despite continuing legal restraints on the overall US budget, increases in military spending were agreed upon by Congress,’ said Dr Aude Fleurant, Director of the SIPRI Arms and Military Expenditure (AMEX) programme. ‘Future spending patterns remain uncertain due to the changing political situation in the USA.’

Continue reading: Military Spending Increased in the US and EU decreased in oil-exporting countries

Die Armen treffen sich bei Jobmeile 2017 im Carla Mittersteig

Seit vielen Jahren treffen sich die Armen bei der “Jobmeile“ im „Carla“ Mittersteig.
Diese Veranstaltung wird gemeinsam mit vielen Sozialeinrichtungen abgehalten.
Die Wiener MA 40, das Arbeitsmarktservice Wien und das Waff sind die FördergeberInnen dieser Veranstaltung.

Reinigung, Pflege, Renovierung, Bewachung, Verkauf, Instandhaltung, … waren die besten Jobangebote für Arme 2017. Dies ist kein Wunder in einem Land, in dem der Bundeskanzler „Pizzabote“ als seinen Berufswunsch deklariert.

Die versammelten Menschen zeigen, dass Wien einen hohen Prozentsatz an armen Menschen hat.
Es war klar, dass das ORF kein Interesse daran hat, die Veranstaltung zu zeigen sondern vielmehr sie zu verbergen. Österreich verbirgt die reale Statistik der Armut vor der Öffentlichkeit.

Die EU-Politik hatte negative Auswirkungen auf das Wirtschafts- und Sozialsystem. Mehrere Gesetze, die vom EU-Parlament erlassen wurden, haben das Problem der Arbeitslosigkeit erhöht.
Die EU hat ihre Grenze für Millionen von „Flüchtlingen“ eröffnet und eine wirkliche soziale Katastrophe geschaffen. Dafür waren Firmen auf dieser Jobmeile vertreten, die diese bedürftigen Menschen “anstellen”, diese in Wahrheit jedoch sklavengleich vermieten und einen Teil des Einkommens für sich abschöpfen. Die Jobangebote, die an sich sinnhaft gewesen wären, weil sozial und dafür da, um alten oder anderwertig bedürftigen Menschen zu helfen, waren leider ohne Bezahlung.

Einige Bekannte, die ich dort getroffen habe, Künstler, Doktoren, haben sich richtiggehend geschämt, dort getroffen zu werden. Was auch zeigt, daß auch hohe Bildung nicht vor Armut schützt. Aber geflüchtete Menschen nehmen natürlich jeden Job an, sei er noch so unterbezahlt oder unter ihrer Qualifikation.

Am Stand der MA40 konnte ich mit einem freundlichen Herren sprechen. Er konnte mir keine konkreten Jobangebote vermitteln, sondern nur Information über die Mindestsicherung geben. Ich habe ihm auch über meine vergangenen Probleme inklusive sexueller Belästigung und dem daraus resultierenden Trauma und meiner Angst vor den Treffen mit der MA40 gesprochen. Sein Rat war es, dies vor Gericht zu bringen, mich aber zuerst von einer Frauenberatungsstelle beraten zu lassen.

Continue reading: Die Armen treffen sich bei Jobmeile 2017 im Carla Mittersteig

Palestinian Forces Use Live Fire Against Peace Demo and Journalists

At least 11 protesters most of them journalists were injured by Palestinian police in Ramallah and Al-Duheisha refugee camp near Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank on last Sunday.

Hundreds of Palestinian oppositions gathered in protest of the PA’s policy of security coordination with Israel over a case against a group of Palestinians Basil al-Araj, 31, Mohammed Harb, 24, Haitham Siyaj, 30, Mohammed al-Salamen, 20, Ali Dar al-Sheikh, 22, and Seif al-Idrissi, 27, who were imprisoned and tortured by Palestinian security forces for over five months without charges last year.

Palestinian police violently suppressed a demonstrations using live fire against protesters. Police assaulted journalists and prevented them from covering the event, They broke their photographing equipment and confiscated their cameras.

Palestine TV reporter Jihad Barkat, cameraman for Jordanian outlet Roya TV Muhammad Abu Shusha, Roya TV reporter Hafith Abu Sabra, reporter for Ramallah-based Watan agency Ahmad Milhem, lawyer Farid al-Atrash, and Omar Assaf were brutally assaulted.

The merits of the case.
The Magistrate’s Court of Ramallah ruled to release Basil al-Araj, Mohammed Harb, Haitham Siyaj, Mohammed al-Salamen, Ali Dar al-Sheikh, and Seif al-Idrissi, after they launched a hunger strike in protest of their unlawful detention and torture at the PA jail.

However, Harb, Siyaj, al-Salamin, and al-Idrissi were detained by Israeli forces immediately after being freed from PA forces jail, eliciting outrage among Palestinians over the PA’s policy of security coordination with Israel. What means “revolving door policy” of funneling Palestinians from PA jails into Israeli prisons and exchanging the roll of torturing the detainees between the PA dictator regime and the Israeli occupation.

Israeli forces were unable to immediately apprehend Basel al-Araj, a Pharmacist, a well known freedom fighter, an intellectual, a theorist and a sharp critic of the PA. He remained in hiding after his release. The Palestinian forces and intelligence recently helped Israel forces to find al-Araj place near Ramallah.

Continue reading: Palestinian Forces Use Live Fire Against Peace Demo and Journalists

Women's Rights And Women's Day

March 8 is a major day of global celebration for economic, political and social achievements of women, but also it is a day to remind the governments which have enacted more laws that violate women’s rights, that they must review these laws, which for example allow the labor offices to force these women into contracts where the labor of women is sold cheaply.

On some occasions they are offered 690 euro monthly, far under the level of poverty, for daily attendance 45 hours a week until they would rent them to a company and keep 30% of their salary. These “contracts” and how these women (and men) are bullied into them correspond to the definition of forced labor, set forth in the Forced Labour Convention of 1930, ratified by Austria on 07.06.1960. Quote: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ILO_fundamental_conventions

The Convention was adopted in Geneva 28 June 1930 and came into force on 1 May 1932. By the end of 1932 ten countries had ratified the convention (Japan, Bulgaria, Spain, Norway, Denmark, Australia, Sweden, United Kingdom, Liberia, and Ireland). The last Western European countries to ratify the convention were Austria in 1960, Luxembourg in 1964 and Malta in 1965. Canada ratified it in 2011 and as of 2015 the United States has not ratified it (did they till now???).

The convention states some explicit exceptions of this definition, such as military service and community services in certain qualified cases, but the kind of activity to which these people are forced have nothing to do with these stated exceptions.

In Vienna, unemployed women and men are bullied by the labor office into “contracts” with companies which in turn rent them out to anybody needing a cheap worker. It is not clear if the bad deal for these people forced into virtual slavery has to do with labor laws which have been passed by the governments of the European Union in the wake of the economic crisis that swept global markets and led to the continuing collapse in the domestic and international economy, or if has to do with changing the statistical data about unemployment in Austria in order to make them look more favorable for the government. In any case, if these assumptions are right or wrong, the Austrian laws forbid forced labour. The Austrian penal code deals with slavery, forced labour and similar crimes in sections 104 to 106 in the chapter about “Human Trafficking”.

In light of the data available to me, the labor office threatens women with the withholding of benefits if they dare to protest against being bullied into “labor” relations in certain companies under the pretext helping them to look for work – these “measures” are always represented as “courses” where people are supposed to learn how to find work, as I know from many conversations. The labor office usually or at least most of the time rejects the wishes of women to choose a profession or line of work which they think suits them best.

Continue reading: Women’s Rights And Women’s Day

International Women’s Day in Vienna

Historic imbalances in power relations between men and women, exacerbated by growing inequalities within and between societies and countries, are leading to greater discrimination against women and girls. Around the world, tradition, cultural values and religion are being misused to curtail women’s rights, to entrench sexism and defend misogynistic practices.

In Vienna, hundreds of women have organized mass protests against the violation of their rights by the major companies operating in Europe, specifically in Germany and Austria.

In Mariahilferstrasse,  dozens of women gathered in front of Muller Company to express their refusal of the unjust policy against the female workers at the company.

According to the protesters, women’s legal rights, have never been equal to men’s on any continent. The company of Muller enslave the employees females and directs them to chargers of dereliction of work in front of the customers, despite performing their tasks of work perfectly in company.

One of the employees said that she had resigned from after a series of ongoing persecution and bullying in the company.

Denying the rights of women and girls is not only wrong in itself; it has a serious social and economic impact that holds us all back. Gender equality has a transformative effect that is essential to fully functioning communities, societies and economies.  

Women’s access to education and health services has benefits for their families and communities that extend to future generations. An extra year in school can add up to 25 per cent to a girl’s future income.

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Frauenrecht ist Menschenrecht ist ArbeiterInnenrecht

Der 8. März ist ein ein bedeutender Feiertag der ökonomischen, politischen und sozialen Errungenschaften von Frauen, aber auch ein Tag der Erinnerung an diejenigen Regierungen, welche noch mehr Gesetze erlassen haben, die Frauenrechte verletzen und dass diese ihre Gesetze einer nochmaligen Überprüfung unterziehen sollten, welche es zum Beispiel erlauben, dass Arbeitsvermittlungsagenturen Frauen in unterbezahlte Verträge zwingen. Es ist keine Seltenheit, dass sie an diese Agenturen für ein Einkommen von € 700,- monatlich vermittelt werden, einen Betrag weit unter der Armutsgrenze, bei 45 Stunden unproduktiver Anwesenheitspflicht pro Woche, und 30% ihres Lohns abgeschöpft werden, sobald diese Frauen an eine Arbeitsstelle vermittelt sind. Diese “Verträge” und die Methoden, mit denen diese Frauen (und Männer) in diese gezwungen werden, entsprechen der Definition von Zwangsarbeit, wie sie in der Zwangsarbeitskonvention von 1930 festgelegt und von Österreich am 7. 6. 1960 ratifiziert wurde. Siehe:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ILO_fundamental_conventions.
https://www.equalityhumanrights.com/en/human-rights-act/article-4-freedom-slavery-and-forced-labour
http://ilo.org/declaration/principles/eliminationofchildlabour/lang–en/index.htm

Die Konvention wurde in Genf am 18. Juni 1930 formuliert und trat am 1. Mai 1932 in Kraft. Mit Ende 1932 hatten zehn Länder die Konvention ratifiziert (Japan, Bulgarien, Spanien, Norwegen, Dänemark, Australien, Schweden, Vereinigtes Königreich, Liberia und Irland). Die letzten westlichen Länder, die die Konvention ratifizierten, waren Österreich 1960, Luxemburg 1964 und Malta 1965. Kanada folgte 2011 und zumindest bis 2015 wurde sie von den USA nicht ratifiziert (!).

Die Konvention definiert einige explizite Ausnahmen von dieser Definition, wie Militärdienst und Sozialdienste in spezifisch qualifizierten Bereichen, aber die Art der Aktivitäten, zu denen diese Menschen gezwungen werden, haben mit den definierten Ausnahmen nichts gemein.

In Wien werden arbeitslose Frauen und Männer durch das Arbeitsmarktservice in “Verträge” mit Firmen gezwungen, die diese dafür jedem vermieten, der eine billige Arbeitskraft braucht. Es scheint nicht klar, ob dieser schlechte Deal, mit dem diese Menschen praktisch in Sklaverei gezwungen werden, mit Arbeitsgesetzen zusammenhängt, die von den Regierungen der Europäischen Union angesichts der ökonomischen Krise, die die globalen Märkte erfasst hatte und die zu fortgesetztem Niedergang der nationalen und internationalen Wirtschaft geführt hat, oder mit den dadurch veränderten statistischen Daten über Arbeitslosigkeit in Österreich, um diese für die Regierung besser aussehen zu lassen. Mögen obige Annahmen zutreffen oder nicht, auf jeden Fall verbieten die österreichischen Gesetze Zwangsarbeit. Das österreichische Strafgesetz befasst sich mit Sklaverei, Zwangsarbeit und ähnlichen Verbrechen in den Absätzen 104 bis 106 des Kapitels über “Menschenhandel”.

Continue reading: Frauenrecht ist Menschenrecht ist ArbeiterInnenrecht

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